Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taxpayers, parents lobby Greaves to overturn Mayor's recreation veto

Over the weekend, parents of children involved in Plainfield's recreation programs together with Plainfield taxpayers mounted a campaign to lobby newly-appointed Councilor Vera Greaves to stand by the position she originally took in favor of establishing a Recreation Commission by supporting a vote tonight  to overturn Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' veto of the ordinance.

Two concerns are flowing together on this issue --

  1. Members of the current Recreation Advisory Committee (which would be replaced by a stronger Recreation COMMISSION under the vetoed ordinance), are concerned that the Recreation Division needs assistance in focusing on improving and expanding delivery of recreation services to Plainfield youngsters and others, including adults and seniors; and
  2. Taxpayers are becoming alarmed that the Recreation Division only reaches -- by its own admission -- 500 of the total of 6,500 youngster in the community, making the cost-per-user outrageously high.
Councilor Greaves' telephone number is (908) 672-8701. If you feel strongly about either (or both) of these two issues, let her know how you stand and urge her to stick to her original vote in support of establishing a Recreation Commission (and if you live in the 1st or 4th Wards, let her know you will be remembering this matter when you vote in the primary election June 7th).

I am posting the email being circulated by Committee member Dwayne Wilkins and others below --.

Monday (today) is an important VOTE for Plainfield's Future.
Please CALL COUNCILWOMAN GREAVES - 908.672.8701, who says she is “on the fence”, and request that she vote YES for Recreation Commission.  I have spoken to Dwayne Wilkins and as you can see by reading the emails below -Vera Greaves seems to be not so much on the fence but sure to vote NO.  Presently –one man, Dave Wynn makes all the decisions for the Plainfield’s recreation department, which only serves 500 Plainfield children out of a possible 6500 and to my knowledge NO adults (Recreation should include Adults as well as Senior Citizens).  It is obvious the Recreation Department of Plainfield needs HELP and one man managing is not working.  A Commission will not eliminate Dave Wynn’s job it will only enhance his performance as a Recreation Manager.
ALSO - Please forward this email to your family, friends, neighbors and call ALL of your Plainfield Councilpersons and ask them to vote YES. 
Make your voice heard today!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

Since we already know in advance how Reid and Rivers will vote ( shocked..anyone? anyone?? Can we just enter their support of Sharon again in advance )it would be nice to see Greaves actually stand up for the almost 50,000 citizens of Plainfield instead of the Mayor and one her hanger-ons. Hopefully she doesn't respond well to wink-wink, nod-nod influence from Mayor Jerry or Sharon..

Anonymous said...

Correction for you, Dan. The 6K plus kids are only those registered in the Plainfield schools - I am not sure if it includes Charter schools, but I know it does not include those children who go to parochial or private schools.

Anonymous said...

Councilwoman Greaves,

I urge you on behalf of the many Plainfield residents to whom I have spoken to PLEASE give us this, and vote "Yes" on the Commission.

Anonymous said...

When I think of how long this has gone on it's makes no sense. I think they should have a commission and let them decide what Mr. Wynn's responsibilities will be. Also if the men who come to the Council meetings raising their voices and not adhering to the rules of the meetings claiming he paid for his time to speak, I wouldn't want my child being coached by anyone like that as he doesn't abide by the rules, he's like a ticking time bomb which explodes every time he's at the microphone. Tsunami track club is not under the Dept. of Rec and they have done very well, with volunteers to coach, hold tournaments, fund raise and take the kids to counties and they've been from Michigan, Va, Delaware to name a few and have done very well. ENOUGH ALREADY, WE NEED A COMMISSION!!!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Greaves:

Please hold to your original vote and vote in favor of the Commission. To all other council members, be sure you Vote Yes for the recreation commission. Our children and parents deserve the best. The status quo is no longer good nor acceptable!

Anonymous said...

Dan, recreation, as many of the first and fourth ward adults and seniors have complained, is also for the. If the city is only serving a tiny fraction of the children in our community, what are the numbers for the adults?

Dwayne said...

All -

To be clear, I was asked by a few folks some details on why one should vote for a commission and I provided that information. That information was then forwarded.

I do believe that there is no downside to have citizens serve on a commission, hopefully those with vested, independent interest, to serve our community. Most every community surrounding us, including both North and South Plainfield and Piscataway have commissions, why not us? It is not a brand new idea that has never been done; it adds more accountability and participation in the strategy of bringing more ideas and perspectives to recreation. We have other commissions in town, why not recreation?

A commission would also serve to serve as a buffer for our mayor as the line of reporting shifts to that body. The Mayor names the commissioners and they can have the exact same ideology or be different to serve the city - her honor's prerogative. Frankly, I think that it would be a help to have some taxpayers who are either parents of school aged children, those who participate in youth recreation activities or active seniors as part to help deliver programs to our community. Also, having different opinions will serve the community well, only if there is vested interest by members of the body.

Everyone seems so dug in and has taken issues personally. No one wants job loss and a commission absolutely doesn't mean job loss. There is a sense of "if you are not with me, you are against me" from both the administration and the council. I'd argue that we would not be in this situation if people would come together for the benefit of children originally.

We need the proper budget to run recreation AND need proper oversight. In today's challenging time, no one person could possibly have ALL of the answers. Why did the committee come about? Because clearly there were some issues with the division. The Mayor didn't name the committee for no reason at all.

Hindsight is 20/20, but this budget process has been the biggest issue. Moving $$'s around was an ill-conceived band-aid to a different issue.

As an administration and governing body, how did we get to this point? This has been looming for 3 months, and both sides are waiting to see who blinks first.

Well, it looks like the kids lose, Council looks like they killed recreation, and the Mayor looks like it's her way or the highway.

How does that help?
Everyone I speak to says it's about the political culture of the city. For as long as anyone can remember, the Mayor and Council have on opposite sides of the table.

In business, when money is at stake, people put aside their differences and solve problems. Imagine if you ran a business and the two main decision makers wouldn't collaborate on solutions, even though the company is on the brink of disaster?

My kids were in the meeting yesterday and they said "there really is a lot of arguing happening at the meeting, when do people agree?”

As leaders, and our elected officials, please find common ground and ensure that recreation continues.

When DO people agree?

Dwayne E. Wilkins
A Concerned Parent and Taxpayer in Plainfield