Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WBLS inquiry continues tonight

In choosing 'emergency powers' explanation, Robinson-Briggs may have
landed in sticky situation from which there is no escape

In what the Plainfield City Council hopes is its FINAL special meeting in the inquiry into circumstances surrounding the payment of $20,000 to Inner City Broadcasting, the parent company of WBLS for the live broadcast of a community forum in August 2010, the Council and its special attorney, Ramon Rivera, will conduct a further hearing tonight at 7 PM in the City Hall Library.

So far, the Council has heard sensational testimony from former City Administrator Bibi Taylor, who repeatedly referred to copious notes and logs of phone conversations between herself and Mayor Robinson-Briggs as Robinson-Briggs maneuvered desperately to get the check cut Friday afternoon, July 31.

At the last hearing, Mayor Robinson-Briggs read a lengthy self-justification into the record and forcefully denied several of the points made by Ms. Taylor. Mayor Robinson-Briggs introduced for the first time the idea that the situation was an 'emergency' and that she was exercising her prerogatives under the City's charter. This may have fatally wounded her case, as she did not perform any of the necessary corollary acts in the case of an emergency (see my post here).

Purchasing agent David Spaulding, whom audience members saw apparently being coached by Mayor Robinson-Briggs without the knowledge of her attorney, followed the Mayor. Though wavering at first, he finally firmly acknowledged that NO ONE had used the word 'emergency' in connection with the purchase order (counter-signed by Robinson-Briggs in a highly unusual manner), which made possible the issuance of the $20,000 check in question.

Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson declined to be interviewed publicly, citing 'attorney-client privilege' and met with the Council and Rivera in closed session. However, the Council's special attorney Rivera said in the most recent meeting that Williamson did not in fact have that privilege as he is not the Mayor's attorney, but the corporation's. We shall have to see if that point will be pressed home again this evening -- with any resultant change in testimony.

Also unheard from to this point is longtime Audit & Control employee Sandra Cummings and others in the Division who may have played a role in issuing the check over Cummings' and Robinson-Briggs' official signatures.

Whether Mayor Robinson-Briggs' evident malfeasance rises to the level of criminality is not for the Council to decide, but one can certainly hope -- for the sake of the taxpayers, and Plainfield's reputation among New Jersey municipalities -- that a report showing abuse of mayoral powers will find its way into the hands of those who CAN assess criminality, and prosecute it if warranted.



Wednesday, November 9
7:00 PM

City Hall Library

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

Sandy - run as fast as you can !

Rob said...

LOL... You mean the "evil" Republicans running the state right now??? Oh..I see, good to do your dirty work, but def not worthy of replacing the "status quo" that is the bane of the existence of the New Dems in Plainfield...Classic!

Anonymous said...

Why anything is better than voting Republican:
Consider the mythology that makes up GOP orthodoxy today.
• They must believe, despite the evidence of the 2008 financial collapse, that unregulated — or at most, lightly regulated — financial markets are good for America and the world.
• They must believe in the brilliantly cast conceit known as the "pro-growth agenda," in which economic growth can be attained only by reducing corporate and individual tax rates, especially among the investor class, and by freeing business from environmental rules that have cleaned up America's air and water and labor regulations that helped create America's middle class.
• Though rising health care costs are pillaging the economy, and even though health care in America is now a matter of what you can afford, Republican candidates for office must deny that health care is a basic right and resist a real attempt to change and improve the system.
• GOP candidates must scoff at scientific consensus about global warming. Blame it on human activity? Bad. Cite Noah's Ark as evidence? Good. They must express at least some doubt about the science of evolution.
• They must insist, statistics and evidence to the contrary, that most of the nation's energy needs can be met safely with more domestic oil drilling, "clean-coal" technology and greater reliance on perfectly safe nuclear power plants.
• They must believe that all 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States can be rounded up, detained, tried, repatriated and kept from returning at a reasonable cost.
• Even though there are more than four unemployed persons for every available job, GOP candidates should at least hint that unemployment benefits keep people from seeking jobs.
• They must believe that the Founding Fathers wanted to guarantee individuals the absolute right to own high-capacity, rapid-fire weapons that did not exist in the late 18th century.
By no means is this list complete. It almost makes you feel sorry for the people who pretend to believe this stuff. Almost.

Anonymous said...

As a vendor doing business witht he City, I would be happy to get a check from the City within 2 months, let alone having it done in one day.

Rob said...

Anonymous...keep drinking the kool-aid and I'll keep not drinking anyone's kool-aid.
And if you think the Dem's in local politics in NJ have anything to do with any "policy" or "idealogy" of a national setting...your ignorance is almost more laughable than the credit you extend to the local politicians.