Delivered to 15,000 Plainfield "doorsteps" Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mayor Robinson-Briggs proposes a criminal act at budget hearing

Robinson-Briggs make outrageous proposal at budget hearing.

Drama at the budget hearing Monday night? You betcha!

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs put the icing on the cake by proposing a criminal act.

Here's what happened.

After the public
hearing on the proposed FY2011 budget had closed at 8:59 PM, the Council began its comments preparatory to the vote.

There were two main points of discussion: the Recreation Division and folding purchasing responsibilities into the CFO's office.

Three councilors -- Rivers, Reid and Burney -- got into hot water by discussing what amounted to personnel matters, despite being warned by Council President McWilliams.

Councilor Rivers repeatedly brought up the shift of $30,000 funding in the Recreation Division from salaries to program expenses, asking if the Director wasn't being cut to part-time. McWilliams and Mapp answered that the Council does not set personnel decisions; it allocates funds to the Administration, which is then responsible for how it handles those matters.

Councilor Reid wanted the $30,000 in Recreation moved back to salaries. However, he crossed the line in pressing not to have Purchasing folded into the CFO's office by mentioning the CFO's 'health problems'.

Councilor Burney took a different tack on the $30,000 and began discussing personnel.

Council President McWilliams finally intervened, saying the Council could not legally discuss the layoff plan, bringing it to a halt.

After Burney finished outlining his objections to the budget, McWilliams gave Mayor Robinson-Briggs the floor to deliver her comments on the proposed budget.

Before getting to the substance of her comments, Mayor Robinson-Briggs asked videographer Brian Cox to delete Councilor Reid's comments on the CFO's health.

Chairperson Mapp objected loudly, saying that was illegal.

Mapp reiterated the point when his turn for comments came, reminding everyone that the videotape is a public record and that tampering with it is a criminal act.

I have to give the Mayor points for realizing Councilor Reid had crossed the boundary of what can be discussed, but to suggest curing that by committing a crime?

Either Robinson-Briggs knew she was proposing a criminal act, or she didn't.

Either way we have a problem.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Rob said...

So she let herself be video'd asking that the tape be altered.
Criminal? Yes, technically no matter how you hold it up to the light.
More importantly, it was stupid. Apparently the FBI, were they to investigate her, doesn't really require too much "cloak and dagger" to nail her on something.

Alan Goldstein said...

Par for the course. This administration believes in transparency by deception.

They disregard OPRA requests for public records. In one instance I am waiting over four months, and for a few others a period of time well-beyond what a capable and honest leadership would provide.

I have called on Congressman Frank Pallone to see that the Federal government audits all federal funds that go the the city, both for the sake of our residents and for American taxpayers who provide the money.

Accountability needs to take hold and some explaining done. The time to stop passing the buck is now. You can't hit delete and edit history.

Anonymous said...

The 30K in recreation should be eliminated as should the department. Forget transferring the funds somewhere else.

The mayor is an embarrassment - plain and simple.

Rebecca Williams said...

I was present at this meeting, and I was stunned to hear the mayor suggest turning off the camera so that she could make her statement. It was inappropriate and, as you state, illegal. Councilman Mapp was absolutely correct in his remarks. The council meetings must be videotaped "gavel to gavel" style, as all in city administration and council are aware. There was another moment in the meeting where the mayor asked for the camera to be paused so that she could make some remarks--also highly inappropriate and illegal, as Councilman Mapp stated when he again had to caution the mayor about telling the vendor to stop the tape. I am concerned that this lack of understanding (on the part of some of those in administration and on the council) about Sunshine Laws and videotaping persists. It was about two and a half years ago that I was threatened with arrest by a Plainfield police officer for videotaping a public hearing on the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital--mind you, there were about 25-30 other folks in the audience also videotaping the meeting. Justice prevailed, and upon having the law interpreted to him, the officer backed down and I continued to tape. It is the duty of the Corporation Counsel to advise the mayor (and city council) on illegal behavior. Remember the missing 18 minutes on the Watergate tapes.


Anonymous said...

This apparently is an issue that can get the city into hot water. While the Mayor was wrong in asking that the tapes be stopped, it is equally irresponsible by you and Mapp to continue to amplify this.

Anonymous said...

Will the Mayor also instruct the Clerk to alter the Minutes?

Bob said...

This is typical behavior for this mayor and, in part, the reason over 85% of respondants think she should be recalled. We need a responsible government and the mayor's office is not providing that. Too bad for the people of Plainfield.

We should eliminate the Recreation Department and let volunteers run it. They can't do worse than we've had for the past several years.

Blackdog said...

What Reid did was inconsiderate to say the least and I believe violates the CFO's right to privacy about medical records and conditions. And that bloviating popinjay Mapp has to realize that when you start pointing a finger and making accusations, there are always three fingers pointing back at you! I do not believe that the Mayor was trying to suborn a criminal act, but to keep someone's right to privacy inviolate!(And I do not agree with the mayor on much)!

Anonymous said...

Why on earth is it "irresponsible" for Councilor Mapp and Dan to "amplify" the mayor's acts? That doesn't make sense! Whether the anonymous commenter likes Mapp or Dan or not, in this particular instance, they are correct. As a taxpayer and resident, I do not like the idea of the mayor trying to alter or delete public records, no matter what her intentions. We live in a democracy. To equate the mayor's clearly illegal attempt to alter a public record with Mapp preventing the illegal act to occur is ridiculous. If anything, Mapp saved the mayor from being arrested for criminal coercion.

YEP I SAID IT!!! said...

Hello Anonymous December 28 8:11AM!!! W T F are you saying!!! You are just as bad as the Mayor!!! So you too are saying to just act like it never happened??? Delete! Erase the evidence! Cover it up! Shhhhhh!!!

Hell No!!!

AMEN to Councilman MAPP for calling out this sorry excuse for a mayor -Sharon!!!

Where is that petition to RECALL HER???!! Hand it over -I am ready to sign it!

Blackdog said...

Y'all actin' like she has previous experience as an elected official or maybe some experience as an attorney!
But I do know that if some jehu on the city council started discussing my medical history and conditions on video and in public . . . there would be some heavy duty lawsuits filed! Both against the councilman and the city!
This all makes me chuckle!!!!
Somebody's about to start turning over rocks in town to see what crawls out! There will soon be wailing and gnashing of teeth!

YEP I SAID IT!!! said...

Blackdog -

We aren't ACTING like she had previous experience -SHE HAS PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE. FOUR YEARS!!!

Obviously she learned absolutely NOTHING in her first four years and she hasn't learned anything within these additional two years.

And she is FAILING NOW!!!

And regarding experience as an attorney -that is the reason for Dan Williamson. I certainly would like to know where he OBTAINED his degree in law.


Miss Conduct said...

So did he turn off the camera? lmao! It would behoove you all to stay tuned, as the bare facts of all who are who are walking the crooked mile will soon be exposed! No kidding, but have to get my hair done first if they're gonna leave the video on! We'll talk soon!