Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Recreation: Time supporters badgered the real culprits, Mayor and Wynn

PCTV taped Council President McWilliams' press conference.

One thing became crystal clear at Monday evening's press conference by Council President Annie McWilliams on issues with the Recreation Division: it is high time for Recreation program supporters to badger Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Recreation Superintendent Dave Wynn to execute Recreation's responsibilities. The press conference can be seen in a video taken by PCTV and posted on YouTube here.

Saying she was not going to speculate about who was behind the campaign of lies and misinformation which had caused great concern among parents of children using Recreation programs and residents generally, McWilliams did not hesitate to detail examples --

  • Applicants for summer camp were being turned away the the Recreation offices, being told there would be no summer camp program;
  • Parents were told not to register for the baseball program as 'no Recreation programs are funded beyond April 15';
  • Residents were being told the Fourth of July Parade was canceled and there would be no Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa's visit event.
McWilliams also revealed that parents had complained to her that children were being rallied in the elementary schools and told to tell their parents that the Recreation Division was being shut down.

McWilliams emphasized that Recreation Division funding is in place AS THE MAYOR INTRODUCED IT IN HER BUDGET PROPOSAL. The Council reallocated funding among various lines, increasing program funding and cutting the line for staff funding, while leaving the Mayor's requested total intact.

She reiterated that the Council was in agreement that the Recreation Division staff line should be funded, and that it was prepared to consider emergency appropriations to that effect, pending reaching an accord with the Robinson-Briggs administration in a meeting the Mayor had agreed to set up.

That meeting would bring together representatives of the Robinson-Briggs administration as well as Councilors McWilliams, Reid and Storch.

McWilliams stressed yet again that the Council's role is to strike the budget and the administration's is to deploy staff to achieve its management goals within the budgetary constraints.

She noted that the issue had come to the fore because the Recreation Division had resisted accountability in the budget process, only supplying requested information in a limited fashion, and after a public hue and cry. When asked by Roland Muhammad where the figure of 600 for the numbers served came from, McWilliams responded that it came from the Recreation Division itself.

Citing the Council's responsibility to all the taxpayers for accountability from all programs, McWilliams did not shy away from insisting that full accountability will be expected of the Recreation Division going forward, including showing efforts to serve more youngsters as well as adults and seniors.

McWilliams signaled that she was confident the Council and the Mayor could come to an agreement about what the best performance by the Recreation Division in the interest of the taxpayers and all who could be served would look like.

If I were one of the Recreation supporters who spoke so eloquently and passionately at last week's Council meeting, I would feel I had been taken advantage of by Mayor Robinson-Briggs and Superintendent Wynn, and that the Division's turning away of applicants for programs was a sign of bad faith.

Parents, coaches, and all Recreation Division supporters need to press Mayor Robinson-Briggs to resolve this situation in a timely fashion by demanding --

  • The Mayor and her team meet IMMEDIATELY with the Council representatives to work out the details of emergency appropriations for the Division's staff line'

  • That the Mayor immediately announce on the City's website, in a letter to the Board of Ed, and in flyers to the public, that --
    • Baseball season signups are now being taken;
    • Summer camp applications are now being taken;
    • The July Fourth Parade is being held as scheduled,
    • as well as the 2011 Holiday Tree Lighting.
Earlier in the press conference, Council President McWilliams said, 'We need to be able to disagree without demonizing, and to debate without lying'.

Truthfulness and civility. A lot of progress can be made if those two tenets are adopted.

As for those who knowingly lied to the community and manipulated the city's trusting youngsters, perhaps they should read and reflect on Jesus' harsh pronouncement for such manipulation in Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, and Luke 17:2.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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


Rob said...

Dan...what's a silly little thing like the truth got to do with anything??
It hasn't served Assistant Mayor Sharon half as effectively as lies, subterfuge and deception.
She and Dave Wynn are responsible for this and Council Members, Rivers, Reid and Greaves are COMPLICIT.
They'll keep spreading their garbage and Assistant Mayor Sharon will continue to play the victim crying at the feet of all who are willing to listen.
She has found a stage with 50,000 suckers willing to watch her. The Council can start calling her the liar, manipulator and charlatan that she is, or live with her continually upstaging them and the real issues.
Stupidity and blind party devotion have brought us to this point in the game....Column B..Vote Column B!

Anonymous said...

Dave Wynn is a theif and he is getting just what he deserves. He have hurt many people and stopped many programs over the years that could have been successful. I am here to tell the truth. He is out there using our young adults and his workers to campaign against good council members. I say to the all council members here is your chance to turn the curve on the old guard. Please send a strong message get rid of the director of recreation do a audit of recreation and the truth will be told. The mayor is afraid because she knows what will be revealed. Do a 5 yeard audit

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 9:08 Dave Wynn needs to go. He is out there telling the residents the council is weak. He informed residents that as long as you apply pressure to them they will crack. I no longer have children in the division of rec programs my children are in high school but all of my children went through the division of rec and Dave have always been an arrogant theif. I do have 2 nephews who play basketball through the rec and I will tell you that Dave Wynn have nothing abosolutly nothing to do with the basketball program. He takes credit for all the programs when its the seasonal workers that run the programs. I hope council stand their grounds. This a wake up call for all the the employees in city hall and this is the best example that have been set. Council do not allow him to apply that much pressure on you that you forget about the rest of the citizens in plainfield. The Mayor needs to go and so do the rest of her GANG. Council do your research the majority of plainfield cant stand Dave. He threatend his seasonal workers and thats why they were all their. Look at the people that came to the mike they work for him. Do your research view the tape. Council President you did an excellent job by holding that press conference the truth was put out there and now the administration is running scared. The facts and the truth was put out there to the community and now the residents have taken a different approach. The administration back is up against the wall. Thanks to Council president for putting the truth out to the residents. They have lied and deceived us residents for far to long and we are TIRED.

Anonymous said...

KUDOS to council president and the council on the press conference getting the truth out their to the residents. I am so glad that the truth is finally coming to head on recreation. If you notice the only prople that came to the mic were seasonal employees from the division of recreation. They were told that they were going to lose their jobs if they didnt come out. Very sad. Council please stand your ground continue to clean house. Dave Wynn do not have as many supporters as you think he have. I repeat they were all seasonal workers and thie jobs were threatend. Very Sad. They all now know the truth as well as the residents of plainfield know the truth and that is all they needed. I am very satisfied to hear that my children will have a summer program to go to. Council keep up the good work.

Alan Goldstein said...

With a budget of about $800,0000 the Recreation Division serves around 600 young people. That's over $1300 per person, and that's outrageous.

As with many programs the city gets involved with, the results don't matter. It's all about who gets to pocket the money. The limited resources we have to improve the conditions in which we live are continually squandered because the string-pullers are more oriented to profiteering than utilizing what we have in creative and fulfilling ways.

This isn't just about Recreation, and that's the sad thing about it. Too many people are just looking the other way. Can an old dog learn new tricks? I'm coming to the conclusion the answer is 'no'. Were the entire Administration to tender its resignation by month's end would not be soon enough. That, and eliminating Assemblyman/PDCC Chairman Green's ability to meddle in city affairs would be an enormous step forward.

Bob said...

Dave Wynn and this mayor (sic) need to get honest, but I don't think that's an ability they possess or are capable of. I hope this City Council makes sure we have transparency in our recreation department. Dave Wynn is getting paid a fortune and wonderful benefits for a job he only works part-time at. If only 600 Plainfield youth have been served by him, then let's fire him, because he isn't doing his job. That's probably less than 5% of the youth in this city. God will punish the mayor and her lackies for being the devils in our midst.

Anonymous said...

Dave Wynn is not recreation there are many seasonal workers that dont get the credit that need. Council you are on a journey and thanks to the almighty GOD that I serve the uncle beast is about to come to a head. I thank you council president for calling the press conference. Thanks to the council member's who hold their grounds. Get rid of David Wynn he have held the recreation victum for far to long. It's time for real change in the Great City of Plainfield. I was ready to pack my bags and leave, but if the council continue to clean house and keep the residents best interest at heart I will stay. Again keep up the good work. Lets stop the ugly politics that have been played for past 5 years to come to a head. I read one response that said do a audit on recreation, I know for a fact that someone will be going to jail. all im going to say is GOLF you figure out the rest on your own.

Anonymous said...

From the previous comments -it seems as though the mayor and Dave Wynn have been fooling around with Recreation's funds and that's why they have been pimping the seasonal workers to come and speak up for them. The last council meeting there were a lot of Sharon/Dave supporters, but there weren't 600 parents present or coming forth in support of Sharon, Dave or Recreation.

And -there were more council bashing, particularly towards McWilliams, Mapp, Storch and Williams than there was support of Dave Wynn.

Just like Gallon -it is only a matter of time before Dave Wynn gets his walking papers.

By the way -who paid for all of that copying and paper that was used to print that anonymous letter that was filled with lies and asking the Plainfield citizens to appear at the council meeting? Was that part of Recreation's budget?

Anonymous said...

Whats with the pearls?
Shes cute but the pearls gotta go

Anonymous said...

The Mayor is corrupt. She is in a corner and knows her back is up against the wall. She'll fold like Dashield, Gallon, & PMUA. Time will tell if charges will be brought up like they were against Gallon.

Kudos to the Council President and several members of the council for sticking to your guns. The taxpayers deserve fiscal responsibility - PERIOD!

Ari said...

Okay Plainfield Residents the time has come to do something about all of the affairs of this city. Let me remind you of a few times in our recent history where resident involvement and pressure has yielded results for us...

PMUA- resignation of Exec Director and Assist Exec Director AND MORE IS YET TO COME

Board of Education- Gallon, Kemp, Kelly out and arrested.

Use OPRA and get documents that will confirm your suspicions. When they refuse to give you the information file complaints with the Government Records Council. Contact the Office of the State Comptroller, the Union County Prosecutor, the Attorney General. Contact the Governor's Office. DO NOT LET UP. It is time that the select few stop using our hard earned money for their pleasure. Our taxes are supposed to be used for the benefit of all in the City and not just the friends of the Mayor.

Let's get them out and support the Council Members who are bold enough to call the Mayor out.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the people who fought for Dave Wynn and the Rec department? Why aren't they volunteering their services to not only keep the rec department but give up their seasonal worker salaries to bring in more programs?

Where are you????

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:36,

Gallon was arrested but walked away with the charges dropped and a check for over $100k. The arrest had nothing to fo with his job.

Is the district better off? As an employment agency maybe but that will end soon when they lay off the people they brought back when Gallon left.

Anyway, the sad part is that too many of you sit and complain and do nothing when it comes to the usual local suspects.

The Mayor and Dave Wynn been playing this game for years. Everybody knows it. Let's see what happens.

YBA Community Member said...

I believe the real concern which everyone seems to have lost sight of is that the funding to keep the permanent staffing for the division of recreation program namely the director was not allocated. Also, the proposal for a commission to become the governing body was also rejected. Therefore it left the division of recreation without a governing body or director. I believe the concerns of those community members who did speak out was about their being a lack of leadership which would directly effect how the department would sustain itself. Whether Dave Wynn was doing his job or not should not warrant the complete disregard for structure to be in place before those decisions are made. Yes, what will happen if there is not a director or commission in place to organize activities, seasonal staff, and programs. I do not believe peoples assumptions were completely false and unfounded. The City Council should have implemented another form of structure before ridding the one that was in place. But she failed to address this at the meeting so I guess she is doing her job.

YBA Plainfield said...

As far as how many kids the division of recreation service. Perhaps ask the neighborhoods who rely on the division of recreation for their kids safety, parents who can't afford privatized sports programs, kids that use the parks and pools. How much of a percentage does this 600 represent then? Are kids dropping out of the programs because of fault of the program? Why don't we ask the community that these decisions really affect.

Anonymous said...

I am happy youth are starting to take interest in what is happening in their community. Way to dispel the "rumors" without addressing the facts.