The needler in the haystack.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Citizens Campaign to present model ordinances to Council Monday


Masthead from group's website.
Plainfield's City Council will hear presentations from the good-government group Citizens Campaign at its agenda-setting session on Monday evening.

Heather Taylor, the group's spokesperson, will present four model ordinances the group is promoting to governing bodies throughout the state.

Citizens
Campaign may be familiar to Plainfield Today readers for two reasons: the group's proposed 'Civic Responsibility Act' was the model for the Plainfield ordinance advocated by the late Councilor Ray Blanco and which was adopted in 2005 (though the online portion was only recently put up by City Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh, see here), and for the citizen involvement workshops conducted over the years for community members.

Here are the proposals to be discussed at Monday's Council meeting --

1)  Model Ordinance for Best Price Insurance Purchasing -- Requires municipalities to seek competitive proposals for insurance coverage and hiring brokers. And it requires the municipality to hire the broker on a flat fee. Currently towns are not required to use a competitive process for obtaining insurance, and brokers are paid a commission by the insurance company. By hiring the broker directly, the municipality will eliminate any conflict of interest the broker may have and guarantee the broker is seeking the best coverage for the town.

2) Model Ordinance for Competitive Negotiations for Professional Services -- Currently towns have two options for hiring professionals, the "fair and open" process or the "non fair and open" process, under both systems the city has broad discretion in selecting its professionals. The ordinance would require the municipality to obtain detailed proposal from professionals competitively, giving the city the ability to compare firm's services and rates and to expand the pool of potential firms. For more information about why the fair and open process is ineffective, read the State Comptroller's report: http://www.nj.gov/comptroller/news/docs/pay_to_play_report.pdf

3) Model Pay to Play Reform Ordinance - Currently cities only have to use the fair and open or non-fair and open process for awarding government contracts, neither one effectively severs the link between campaign contributions and government contracts. The model ordinance will limit campaign contributions to candidates, parties, and PACs by business entities seeking government contracts.

4) Model Developer Disclosure Ordinance - Requires developers  to disclose their political contributions when applying for a major variance.
You can learn more about Citizens Campaign and other initiatives they are promoting by visiting their website (here) or their Facebook page (here).


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bet if we look at all the contracts given out,we would find that most,if not all,made campaign donations to both the Green and Briggs campaign. The citizens of Plainfield have paid big time for the for the pay backs that the Mayor has had to pay back over her term so far.

Anonymous said...

I am really looking forward to this presentation. Many of us have been championing this kind of reform for a long time--I will cross post on my own blog. I hope Plainfielders will come out to see the presentation and support these reforms.

Rebecca