Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, July 1, 2011

Could Mayor Robinson-Briggs have done better last night?

Though the release is 'dated' June 27, the document was not created until June 28.
Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs was in her element last night at Washington Community School. As hostess-with-the-mostest, that is.

Was I the only one disappointed in the small turnout?

When the meeting finally got under way, nearly a half hour past the official start time, there were only 42 people in the room. That included a delegation of eight from Rutgers, there to make their report, and about twenty employees. If you don't count the bloggers (3) and elected officials (6), that leaves a net of about FIVE members of the public.

Attendance included just a handful of residents.
And considering the content of most of the evening was a rehash by city staffers of what they've been up to for the first six months of the year -- much of which has either been reported in the press and blogs or not, reflecting its 'news' value -- I was trying to get Peggy Lee's hit 'Is that all there is?' out of my head.

As someone wrote me recently, the city certainly could use a better PR mechanism. I had noted the date down weeks ago, but there was no further public notice until it cropped up on the now-defunct Courier microsite, based evidently on a city press release (see here, PDF) ostensibly dated June 27, but in actuality created as a PDF file on June 28 (see illustration at top). Two days public notice? How extravagant!

That aside, there was too much talk, not enough news.

And the two really worthwhile items had to compete with all the fluff.

Those were the report on the Visioning Study by the Rutgers team, and the Brownfields hearing on the contaminated Lee Place properties, which the city has been trying to sell or develop for years.

It was interesting to see Mayor Robinson-Briggs, who had fought tooth-and-nail against the Council over having the Rutgers/NJIT study done in the first place, be so gracious and bubbly when it came time to take credit. (NOTE @ 12:55 pm: Seems I am a little ferhoodled here, as Bernice informs me that this was not the NJIT/Rutgers study, but another altogether. So, maybe the Mayor deserves the credit for this one?)

I'll be taking up some of the items brought up last night in further posts. You will find Bernice's report on the Brownfields hearing of interest (see here).

Could Mayor Robinson-Briggs have done better last night?

That depends on what your definition of 'better' is.

-- Dan Damon

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Rebecca Williams said...

I was also quite dismayed at the extremely short notice given--I had a previous dinner engagement scheduled, or I would have attended. I don't understand what the problem is in getting the word to residents and stakeholders in a timely fashion--I wish I could attribute it to something else, but my fear is that it is simply incompetence. I hope not.


Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: the basic lesson transmitted last night is that members of the administration can read: after early on announcing that no one would read the document posted on the screen and, perhaps, available on the City web site, most did just that. We learned they are doing their jobs: how many 'flu vaccines, how many drug arrests, how many fires. Dan Williamson probably outshone most by telling us he would provide information on Muhlenberg, then repeat the same information when Dottie arrived, and he did. Time for questions? Very limited, and most people, including some of the administrators, had fled. But, stay tuned: the Mayor promised she has a plan for the Armory so spectacular that the council members will adopt it immediately at their July meeting.

Rob said...

Sorry Dan...she actually got the notice out...for her past performance that's practically a 100% improvement. Gotta give credit where credit is due...

Rebecca Williams said...

I was reading Pat's comment about the "spectacular" plan for the armory that I haven't heard yet. There is no way that the council can consider and deliberate on proposals that have not been presented to us. My constituents, fellow councilors, and I have been ringing this bell for months now, and still have not gotten as single sheet of paper with actual costs, cost projections, or anything. Not a single sheet. My constituents have pretty effectively communicated with me the fact that they do not like last minute rush jobs on items that could have a serious impact on our city. Besides, we were told the state gave the city until June 30 to make a decision. It is July 1. The lack of clarity, competence, and professionalism is glaring.


Anonymous said...

Dan, someone broke into the Rock Ave concession stand and ONLY took things belonging to QCBL? If she can't address a problem with baseball, staring her right in her face, do you really expect her to handle anything correctly on a larger scale....

Anonymous said...

To Rob, you are correct about giving credit.

However, the words competent, efficient and organized come to mind, none of which apply to the mayor.

It isn't just getting the word out, it is getting it out in a competent, efficient, organzied manner that will also be effective (also not a word that applies to this mayor).

I am sure the armory is going to be an expansion of C-Town.

Anonymous said...

The forum was posted in the courier news and on the citys website what more do you want? If people are concern with what is going on in the community they will seek out the information. BTW, the firework show last night was spectacular.