Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PMUA's special meeting tonight; Commissioners may bow to ex-officials' demands

Commissioners may cave to settlement demands tonight.
Commissioners of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) are set to hold a special meeting at 6:00 PM tonight at the agency's headquarters, 127 Roosevelt Avenue (corner of East 2nd Street).

This is the meeting originally proposed for December 21, for which a quorum could not be gathered, I was told.

It is expected the Commissioners will immediately go into executive session to consider settling the severance dispute with former PMUA executives Eric Watson and David Ervin.

You can find my full report on the issues and the proposed settlement here.

Rumor has it that Watson and Ervin are willing to settle for $775,000, quite a knockdown, but still questionable.

Whatever one thinks of that kind of settlement (you have to ask what the Commissioners were thinking in the first place to agree to the contracts the two were given in 2010), there are said to be other features guaranteed to enrage ratepayers --

  • Watson and Ervin, whose last working day was 6/30/2011, want their separation date reworked to be 12/31/2011;

  • Watson and Ervin would like a specially crafted 'tax-friendly' settlement;

  • Watson and Ervin want the PMUA to pick up their legal costs, said to be $80,000 for their attorney and $15,000 for the mediator;

  • And finally, a plaque honoring their contributions to the Authority to be put up at the PMUA Headquarters building.
Whatever action the Board takes at its special meeting, the question remains open whether ratepayers will complain to Gov. Christie about any excesses.

Gov. Christie has raised a ruckus over the past year with several authorities, vetoing the minutes of actions taken (effectively undoing any settlements and other payments or contracts), and publicly pressing for the resignations of some commissioners and having a say in their replacements.

The PMUA Commissioners have to be nervous about this one.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

I want to encourage the Commissioners to make a generous settlement of the Executives claims. Aftre aall a comity has existed between the Commissioner cadre and the Executives all these years; so much so as to render their funcytions indistinguishable one from the other. And, a plaque is grossly insufficient to memorialize the service of these men. Statue are suggested.: bronze, life size, mounted in a public sqaure. Some research has revealed that the cost of each statue is in the order of $100,000, the pediment on which they will stand perhaps $50,000 each, which with a modest allowance for a band and refreshments at the dedication ceremony should not exceed $300,000 in total. If you take the total prospective settlement of say $2,000,000 which includes their unused vacation, personal days an sick leave, plus 15 months salary for 15 years service as per contract, and their claims for $1,200,00, plus monuments it is only $200 for each household in Plainfield: insignificant. Lastly, this has undoubtedly been a stressful experience. You should reward the Commissioners and Executive staff with a 3 day weekend at the Borgata so as to decompress and prepare for the arduous decisions awaiting you in the year ahead.