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

Friday, December 3, 2010

WBLS investigation: Would some common sense be appropriate?

Still seeking 'just and capable'...

Unfortunately, the matter of Plainfielders getting to the bottom of how it was that the administration of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs came to spend in excess of $20,000 (that was just one of several payments) to New York City radio station WBLS to promote and broadcast a town hall meeting she hosted this past summer is being clouded over by a completely unnecessary sideshow over supposed ethics concerns over the selection of a former corporation counsel as the City Council's special counsel in the matter.

At the time of the Council's decision, Dr. Harold Yood (who blogs as 'Olddoc', see here) and former mayoral candidate Jim Pivnichny (who also blogs here) both raised the matter of Ms. Drakeford's prior connections during public comment. Council President McWilliams demurred, saying the Council had already taken Drakeford's prior connections into account.

On Monday, the Courier News editorialized (see here) about the matter, leading to Councilor Mapp posting to his blog (see here) a demand that the Courier apologize to Drakeford for having, in his view, disparaged the former corporation counsel.

On Tuesday, the Courier published a story on Ms. Drakeford's withdrawal from the assignment (see here), quoting both Drakeford and Council President Annie McWilliams.

Late yesterday afternoon, Councilor Burney jumped into the fray with a post (see here) on his blog taking exception to a reference Mapp had made to himself. (Let's leave aside Burney's reference to Drakeford as having been the 'City Solicitor' under Al McWilliams; she was Corporation Counsel, not the same thing at all.)

If you're feeling like you've got too much corn on your Bingo card to manage, join the club.

Having worked with Jackie Drakeford for eight years, I can say she is completely above reproach, thoroughly professional, and THOROUGH. There would be no taint through anything she said or did.

If there is any rap to be made about Ms. Drakeford, it might be that she is TOO LAWYERLY -- she often enough would give advice in the form of 'on the one hand, and then on the other hand' -- meaning the final decision would be in the hands (and on the records and consciences) of those to whom her legal opinions were given.

I fear that what has happened in the matter of the WBLS investigation is that most discussants are forgetting that the matter at hand is FACTFINDING and not PROSECUTORIAL.

It is unfortunate if the Council did not make that clear enough when it decided on Drakeford. It is unfortunate that the Courier's editors seem to think that a fact cannot just be a fact if the factfinder has any connection to the situation.

It is also unfortunate that the Council seems not to have given enough thought to the consequences of their initial decision.

On the other hand, the Courier's editorial assertion that 'this isn't a complex issue' carries with it the whiff of mildew found in ivory towers everywhere.

For better or for worse, everyone is moving on.

There will be plenty of FACTS to ascertain, despite Robinson-Briggs' claim that the investigation is 'frivolous'.

Once the FACTS have been set out, the Council -- and not the special counsel -- will have to make decisions about what further steps to take.

And if the new special counsel the Council hires needs help getting to the bottom of Plainfield's administrative arcana, and that should end up costing more money than the Drakeford contract, I have a suggestion.

Send the bill for the excess to the Courier's editors.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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


Anonymous said...

Did anyone look at the mayor's elect report to see that Dan Williamson have donated large amounts of money into her campaign. Now I really hope the council get an outside kawyer to handle this corruption in plainfield. the payment to WBLS was done inproperly and all whom were involved should be made to pay. I am so tired of the bad politics in Plainfield it's really time to stop NOW.

Anonymous said...

Williamson has already recused himself, that's why an outside lawyer is necessary. Everybody recognized that.

Anonymous said...

The 20K is less important to me than the notion that the mayor thought it would be great to broad cast to the surrounding area that we are a war zone. Not only did she overreact, but yet again, showed that she has no jugdgement, no management skills and not a clue to what she is doing.

Somebody please tell her she is a part time mayor and she should get a life! Stay out of Plainfield politics. It is clear that all you are cabable of doing is making things worse.

Anonymous said...

Dan, your missing the point! For people like you and Adrian who do NOTHING but criticize and give your opinions, its almost hypocritical and foolish to not be able to understand what the Courier was saying. The underlying point was in a City with such divide, it was in poor taste to hire Jackie solely because of perception! Yall can't have your cake and eat it too, and thankfully everyone doesn't think like yall! I'm glad to see the Courier give there opinion! They should apologize the same time you and Mapp apologize for making this City so jacked up!

Anonymous said...

Councilman Mapps assertion that Burney is completely compromised by his loyalty to to the "Old guard" is ridiculous. I voted for Rebecca Williams and Mapp but Burneys continuing contributions and demeanor remind us that individual character can sometimes trump party affiliation/reputation. After all Burney deserves some credit he is the one that called for the WBLS investigation concerning the 20K in the first place, not Mapp. Burney would have been a real asset to Plainfield at the County Level. He has handled his self very well considering his loss in the primary and Councilman Mapps recent cheapshot. Bravo Burney for you exiting with grace and dignity.

Rob said...

along with the bill to the Editors at the Courier News..send them a reminder note they supported her 2nd run at office..because her experience was
Could you imagine if Jim had been elected and done this..why without all this "experience" it might have been easier to uncover the haves he wouldn't have had as much "experience" at hiding the facts.
And instead of blogging Bshouldn't Burney be working on his proposal with "teeth"??? Or has he completed his task from Jerry of stalling enough so he s that job..? I mean you have to get something for throwing your principles and ethics away don't you??

Anonymous said...

The arrogance of Mapp and the New Dems to "demand" an apology from the Courier News for stating the obvious! Who the hell do you think you are that everyone has to think like you and if they give there opinion they must apologize. Good luck on that apology!