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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mapp and Robinson-Briggs styles contrast at Council reorg

Adrian Mapp is sworn in as Council President by Judge Joan Robinson Gross.
Wife Amelia and daughter Aiyesha hold the Bible.
Newly-elected Plainfield City Council President Adrian Mapp and Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs both addressed the public at Tuesday's reorganization meeting. Their styles could not have been in sharper contrast.

Unanimously elected by his Council mates, Mapp addressed the audience after having been sworn in by Municipal Court Judge Joan Robinson Gross.

In about five minutes and with carefully chosen words, Mapp outlined about a dozen points for a legislative agenda for the City Council for 2012.

Highlights included --

  • Creation of a 'meaningful' shared services committee including the City, Board of Ed, PMUA, Housing Authority and Plainfield Public Library';

  • Looking to our legislative delegation for help in returning Route 28 within the city limits to the state's responsibility for maintenance;

  • Ending health benefits for all Plainfield elected officials;

  • A tougher stance by the Council on bars and liquor stores at the annual license renewal;

  • Looking for improved cooperation with the Robinson-Briggs administration, where Mapp said there is 'a huge need for improvement, with no quick fixes'.
Robinson-Briggs arrived at 8:20 PM for the meeting which was scheduled for 8:00 PM. After ushering her family members in through the Council's private entry and getting them seated with the public, she took her seat at the Administration table.

Following the swearing-in of Councilor Bill Reid as Chair of the Committee of the Whole, Council President Adrian Mapp asked for suspension of the order of business and gave Mayor Robinson-Briggs the privilege of the floor to deliver the State of The City address.

Unlike previous years, Mayor Robinson-Briggs neither stood at a podium nor used a Powerpoint presentation, choosing instead to sit at the Administration table and extemporize.

Basing her remarks on a 37-page booklet that was distributed to attendees at the conclusion of her remarks, Robinson-Briggs took a leisurely 53-minute stroll through the contents, garnishing everything with anecdotes brought to mind as she rambled.

There was no overarching theme or brief articulated by the Mayor, nor a punchy set of goals for 2012. Instead, the audience had to work pretty hard to separate aims for the coming year from chatty comments and remembrances of incidents past by Her Honor festooning everything.

Murmurs and chuckles rippled through the audience when, at last, Robinson-Briggs said she was drawing to a close. Though exhaustive (not to say exhausting), careful readers will find that her review of City government was hardly complete.

The Mayor promised the audience that the contents of the booklet would be posted to the City's website by Friday (mark your calendars and check here!) and would be featured on the City's public access TV stations (don't ask me to explain that one, unless she meant the videotape of her verbal delivery).

Such contrasting styles are sure to work themselves out throughout the year in the manner in which Mayor Robinson-Briggs and the City Council interact.

Looks to be another 'interesting' year ahead for Plainfield ... year 3 of Robinson-Briggs' second four-year term.

Ward 2 Councilor Corty Storch is sworn in for a third term.

Wards 1/4 Councilor Vera Greaves is sworn in by Asm Jerry Green.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

Let us hope that the City Council at its best can trump Shady Sharonda at her best and the people of Plainfield will be the winners. Sharon has not been able to define her goals for Plainfield for all of her years in office, why do we think she'll do that now.

Bob Bolmer

Anonymous said...

Two peas in a pod hanging from the same vine in a garden of earthly delights.

Anonymous said...

I was in attendance last night and one only ask, if while being sworn in and your hand is not on the Bible should it be done again. Council woman Vera Greaves although she took the oath her had at no point remained on the Bible, her grand children held it for her perhaps to low for her comfort. Never the less her hand was suppose to be placed on it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, once the NJ assembly tells the highway department to plow Rout 28, i will be able to get around town !!

Dan said...

@ 9:26 AM -- I noticed too, but -- though I am not a lawyer -- I believe it is the oath itself, and not where the person's hand is, that seals the deal.

Maybe a reader with more info can enlighten us all....

Happy New Year!

Michael Townley said...

The oath of office is sworn to or affirmed by the person taking the oath, with or without invoking the "so help me God" declaration. Those who use that declaration often will support it by placing their left hand on the Bible, as if to say it is the representation of the God upon whom they are calling. The binding promise is the oath or affirmation itself (some won't take an oath because, by definition, they are "swearing" to a statement, and therefore simply "affirm" their statement). Not using the Bible or not placing the hand on it has nothing to do with the promise being made.

Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: coincidentally, I drove to Cranford this morning along Route 28, and was held up as state highway crews made repairs in Westfield. Interesting that Westfield taxpayers don't cover those costs, while we in Plainfield do. Thank you Council President Mapp for providing a hook on which I could hang my annoyance.

Anonymous said...

some of us can't stand to touch a bible, now figure that one out.

I was very disappointed that not once did the Mayor speak about the great works being done in the City Clerk's Office. The Clerk, Mr. Jalloh has made great strides in improving the Clerk's Office and the City. Every office is going to move toward improvements in IT well Mr. Jalloh has already made that leap and can't even get a small mention in that long drawn out litany of nothing. Don't hate participate, stop the pettiness and jeolousy. Give credit where credit is due. The young man is awesome and has an A-1 team, didn't he made great changes with just two people in his office as well. However you can give certificates for decorating a tree, never mind the fact that you were paid to decorate it.

olddoc said...

In my contention that there is no place for secular prayer in government meetings, it would follow that a secular bible would not have any place in the administration of an oath of office. If the person was being sworn in the Christan bible would be meaningless, likewise the Jewish bible differs from the one being used; consisting of only the "Old Testament". Therefore in actuality the "Bible" is an unneeded prop.

olddoc said...

A clarification; the following phase was senseless as sent since part was somehow deleted and should have read : "If the person was being sworn in was of another faith the Christan bible would be meaningless,"

Anonymous said...

Give someone else credit other than her highness the mayor? I think that is grounds for treason.