The fact is that Housing Authority commissioners -- who also once received a stipend, but no longer do -- was partly behind my reasoning. The other thought was that local Planning and Zoning Board members certainly have as heavy a responsibility and work as hard if not harder than the PMUA commissioners -- all without remuneration or perks.
Assemblyman Green (or someone writing in his name) took great exception to the suggestion (see here), engaging in an ad hominem attack without addressing the issues I raised. (My partner was indeed a PMUA Commissioner from 1998 to 2006, which fact I have alluded to previously in this blog -- see all entries here -- and is also well-known in the community. My question still stands.)
Assemblyman Green's sharp and immediate reaction -- amounting to a protestation in favor of the status quo -- only underscores my argument that taking away the perks would take away the suspicion that commissioners were chosen because they were friends and supporters of Mayor Robinson-Briggs and Assemblyman Green.
As for the Assemblyman's assertion that he 'does not make the decisions concerning the city of Plainfield', I offer in evidence a Courier News story from 2007 entitled 'King of the Queen City: Jerry Green has become a political power in Plainfield and beyond'.
But Jerry wasn't the only one who decided to join the conversation. I received an email from Philip Charles of DumpPMUA attaching a example of a monthly tally of all the health benefits (and life insurance premiums) for the agency, including the COMMISSIONERS (see the information online here).
If anything, it turns out I have underestimated the cost to the ratepayers of this largesse.
The question remains: Should the matter be brought up by the City Council when it meets with the PMUA Commissioners?
It's interesting to note that the proposed meeting between the Council and the Commissioners, which has been in the works since last summer, and was postponed by PMUA chairperson (and former Plainfield mayor) Harold Mitchell, has now been called off -- unilaterally -- by a letter in the name of the Commissioners included in this week's Council packet.
How any of this advances the PMUA's cause is anyone's guess.
- Plainfield Today: "Time for PMUA Commissioner perks to go?"
- DumpPMUA: "Monthly Commissioner Health Benefit Data" -- The first section is Commissioners.
- Jerry's Green's Page: "Utterly groundless by free public service freely offered"
- Courier News 7/15/07: "Jerry Green: King of the Queen City: A power in Plainfield and beyond"