Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New City Administrator: One step forward, one step back

Plainfield's new City Administrator Eric Berry was welcomed to his first City Council meeting Monday evening (his first day on the job, too).

In a good opening move, all department heads and others with business on the agenda were present. As questions were raised, Berry asked those individuals to come to the table to answer Councilors inquiries. (This reminded me of the days of previous City Administrators, when department heads were always on tap.)

In a not-so-good move, there were three walk-on items, a budget transfer sought by the Administration and two items brought to the table by Economic Development Director Jacques Howard.

One of Howard's items concerned hiring a vendor to prepare a 'sustainability plan'. After considerable discussion by the Council elucidated that a) the monies were proposed to come from the City's UEZ funds, b) the vendor was not selected on an open bidding process, and c) the item was not of an urgent nature, the consensus was not to go forward at this time but after the new year begins.

By that time the ordinance on awarding contracts will be in effect, an ordinance mandating Council approval of all UEZ expenditures may be undertaken, and the Administration can put the resolution in through normal procedures and not as a walk-on item.

Howard's second walk-on item was for the same firm, to develop a 'community rating system' application to FEMA for adjustments to the flood zone maps of the City and -- hopefully -- relief to subject property owners through reduced flood insurance premiums. This resolution was moved to the business agenda by unanimous agreement.

Councilor Mapp pointedly remarked to the new City Administrator during the course of the evening that walk-ons were not appreciated by the Council, asking in reference to the two-page handout concerning requested budget transfers, 'How could the Administration not have gotten this to the Council on time?'

Score for the evening: One step forward, one step back.

Administration take note.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bernice said...

Maybe Berry needs time to get to know the cast of characters and which ones will try to pull stunts that make him look bad.

Anonymous said...

Typical Mr. Howard.... Never prepared