Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, January 13, 2012

Two shared-services proposals: One could be a winner

Consultants Holland & Davis outline the advantages of shared services
over other approaches (see their website here).
Discussion -- if not action -- on shared-services proposals appears to be all the rage in New Jersey, even in Plainfield.

Two times this past week, the topic came up -- at the Council meeting and at the PMUA Commissioners' meeting. One could be a winner.


Housing Authority (HAP) executive director Randy Wood pitched a shared social services project to the Council at its Monday agenda session.

The city was being asked to front $60,000 plus office space in the Annex to expand a program currently offered by HAP.

Council reacted that the proposal was vague, with no detailed proposal, and deferred discussion until the February meeting, to which Wood was invited to return with a fleshed-out plan.

It was not clear to me from the presentation that there was an equitable balance in shared costs on the two sides of the equation -- no figures being given for HAP's outlay. Further, it occurs to me to ask why, with all the agencies that are working the social services side of the street, there needs to be yet another program, with another staff, and looking to the taxpayers to foot the bill.

It would be refreshing to contemplate a program that coordinated the existing efforts, as was done through the Plainfield Coalition under the late Pepsi Charles.

At the PMUA board meeting, a resident asked offhandedly about joining with the city in fuel procurement and distribution. This opened a discussion that, to me, points toward a real problem that could be addressed by a shared services approach -- and that money could be saved all around.

The idea of developing some sort of pooled fuel supply program between the City, the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA), and the Board of Ed has been discussed in the past, without any conclusive path forward.

PMUA executive director Duane Young, in answering the ratepayer comment, cited several of the factors that have inhibited progress: the location of a functional central distribution site and deciding on the type of fuel storage 'pod' and financing its purchase/construction.

On the other hand, being able to buy fuel at wholesale for multiple organizations could make for significant savings.

Though just a sidebar conversation, it seems to me that solving the issues that stand in the way of a shared-services arrangement for fuel purchases and distribution is on its face a more compelling project than adding another piece to an already crazy-quilt pattern of social services delivery.
In implementing Council President Mapp's 2012 'shared-services' initiative, I think effort devoted to the fuel question would be well worth it.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

The Housing Authority shared service proposal is a scam. It is a Madame Mayor proposal and all the little people will get hurt. Check out Eric Graham resume. Please do he have been terminated from every Housing Authority he has ever worked at. Don't take my word do your own homework. Plainfield is the only dumping sit that will have him. Now Housing want to demp him off in the City. Council Members you are up to a challenge.

Alan Goldstein said...

In 2012, will Mapp be more interested in saving money through shared-services, or arm-wrestling the Mayor, while making certain that money continues to flow to the benefactors he needs to fuel his mayoral aspirations?

The money-line, and his voting track record, indicate that any savings will be more than offset by cushy contracting with the wheeler-dealer parasites that feed off the public dime.

But I do wish him luck with the Shared-Service Initiative. Maybe fuel savings will pay for the outrageous settlements the PMUA commissioners bequeathed to their quitter executives. But I think not.

Mapp, like Robinson-Briggs and Jerry Green, has shown himself more into politics and payoffs than Plainfield. Not that they're alone in this. We have a variety of local politicians that like to play both sides against the middle. For them, it's the 2% versus the 98%.

They win, we lose.