Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Council fires warning shots across Administration's bow

Decommissioned cannon in Hillside Cemetery;
the Council's is the real McCoy.
While the tussle between Plainfield's City Council and the administration of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs (and between Councilors themselves) over a package of abuse-reform ordinances last night provided the most sparks, there were other shorts (correction: shots) fired across the administration's bow.

Among these were budget amendments proposed for the 6-month interim budget including cancelling funding for the Police Director position (currently not filled). Councilor Mapp simply said the Council wished to reconsider the position and might opt for going back to having a Police Chief. Now THAT will make an interesting discussion!

The second warning shot to the Robinson-Briggs administration was that while the Council has found funding for FOUR ADDITIONAL POLICE OFFICERS plus other projects (South Avenue streetscape improvements, demolition of a Leland Avenue eyesore), there is a NET REDUCTION of $270,000 proposed for the total budget.

Lastly, Mapp proposed adding extra money to the City Administrator's budget line to cover expected expenses once Acting City Administrator Kochel, whose appointment runs out in early November, is no longer with the City. Council President Annie McWilliams also asked the Administration to update the Council on its post-Kochel plans at next Tuesday's meeting.

Councilors Reid, Greaves and Rivers are opposed to further funding for the Council's special attorney Ramon Rivera, despite Council President Annie McWilliams' explanation that the cost overrun has been driven by the obstinate refusal of the Robinson-Briggs administration to cooperate in supplying requested information. Despite their objections, the resolve of the other four Councilors guarantees the matter will come up for a vote. (Ironically, the Council had a cost overrun on account of 'unanticipated project conditions' for remediation of a city-owned site on Lee Place that did not generate the same qualms.)

Though the abuse-reform measures won't come to the table next Tuesday (Monday is the observance of Columbus Day) -- because of Councilor Storch's surprising lack of support for bringing the measures forward (see note at end of post)** -- there is little doubt they will be back on the Council's agenda soon.

Absent the presence of Mayor Robinson-Briggs, her staunch supporter Roland Muhammad harangued the Council on her behalf.

The balance of the year is certainly going to be interesting, including a number of special meetings.

Council watchers, take note!

**Councilor Storch sent an email to the bloggers and reporter Mark Spivey this morning, explaining his vote. Here it is in full --
I voted not to put the pay to play ordinances on the agenda for October 11 because I feel it is important to have more than four votes to support these important reform initiative. Several Council colleagues asked for more time to review the model ordinances from the Citizens Campaign.  I believe it is a good idea to respect the wishes of the colleagues whose support I desire.  It is still my intention to see pay to play reform achieved this year in Plainfield.  Near the end of Mondays Council meeting, I asked the Council to consider scheduling special meetings in November or December so we can meet this goal.  The City Clerk explained that this can be done and the Council agreed to go ahead as soon as the Council President and Clerk can put together some dates.  

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Rob said...

I am in shock...The Mayor's cheerleaders not wanting to do what's right for the taxpayers regarding abuse reforms etc...but claim to be "for the taxpayer" over the $5,000 extra being required because their Master won't cooperate ( shock ) into the investigation that will at the very least hopefully humiliate her publicly for the hot mess of a charlatan that she is or at the best, toss her into jail.
I wish we could find out what meetings she will be attending just so we could see the self crucifixion ( in her mind ) play out on stage...

Bob said...

I wonder if we can make the mayor and others pay the legal fees that occurred due to their shady games. I'm sorry to see the three stooges cow-towing to the mayor. Rivers, Greaves, and Reid always back the mayor and I wonder what kick-backs do they get. Crooked to the hilt and backing a very corrupt administration in Plainfield. Remember that come election time.