The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dunn consolidates control of PMUA with Williamson appointment


Happier days: Councilors Dunn (right) and Mitchell
congratulating resident Mahendra Budhan for beautification efforts in 2000.
Make no mistake about it, Commissioner Malcolm R. Dunn consolidated his control of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) with Tuesday evening's appointment of the erstwhile corporation counsel Dan Williamson as the agency's executive director.

In a matter of months, Dunn has engineered a coup that --

  • subverted an arbitration process that former executives Eric Watson and David Ervin seemed likely to lose;

  • handcrafting a $1 million 'golden parachute' settlement for the former exectuives;

  • sidetracked interim executive director Duane Young, who was making progress with controlling rates and reforming the agency structure;

  • and made it clear he is going after the unions -- which means wages and working conditions.
Anyone who thinks Mr. Williamson's tenure at the PMUA will bring serious positive change would disabuse themselves of the idea after reflecting for a moment on his six-plus years of service to Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

That does not mean Dunn has a completely free hand -- yet.

As long as Commissioners Harold Mitchell and Carol Ann Brokaw are in place, it looks like there is a possibility of struggle over policy decisions, remembering that Comissioner Sanders is an alternate and only votes in the absence of a full commissioner.

It is clear to observers that Commissioner Dunn finds reason to push back against the agency's counsel, Leslie London, at every turn -- challenging her on almost every statement. However much Dunn may wish to cashier the very capable Ms. London, who has spent most of her career working on the PMUA account, my guess is that Glenn Scotland's ace will trump Dunn's knave every time (see here).

Will anything come of the 're-examination' of the Interlocal Services Agreeent setting up the PMUA? I am skeptical, believing all this sudden interest in palaver has to do with heading off the Council's moves toward studying the question of re-absorbing the PMUA into the city's fold.

One last word: Councilor Storch gave the PMUA employees fair warning at Monday's Council that their main danger was from the Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Dunn made it quite apparent (see here) at the board's January meeting that he is a union-buster in the way he attacked interim executive director Duane Young for there being union organizing going on.

This can only mean trouble for the employees: attacks on working conditions, downward pressure on wages and a loss of job security.

Meanwhile, those who stop by the Stone Square Lodge bar in late afternoons may have a chance to catch old drinking buddies Dan Williamson and Eric Watson in their customary seats at the wall end of the bar, sipping some single-malt Scotch and musing on Plainfield and how good life here can be -- for the in-crowd.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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11 comments:

Bob said...

We have another reason the PMUA must go. It seems the only way to stop the corruption in Plainfield. With these clowns in charge of the PMUA and Bozo in City Hall, we are in a real mess. Let's get rid of the lot and maybe we can finally get Plainfield working for its citizens and not the political insiders.

Bob Bolmer

Anonymous said...

Wow Dan you never seems to amaze me.

Anonymous said...

I wasn’t completely in favor of dissolving but now… Now more than ever they need to dissolve this entity. Dunn is one of the biggest crooks in Plainfield and Dan, well while he is a nice guy, he’s in way over his head. He can’t and will not be his own man making the RIGHT decision, he has way too many personal issues. We need to dissolve PMUA right now and not waste any more tax payers money on studies. The time is now!! Councilors Mappp, McWilliams, Stroch and Williams need to vote to dissolve now and forget about the study. Just do it!

Anonymous said...

It is beyond reason to think that this is kosher. Please someone stop the madness. Williamson knows nothing and Dunn is like a bull in a china shop. It is not 1970 when corruption and cronyism went unchallenged. Hopefully, somthing will quickly end the nightmare of payoffs, drinking buddies and just plain craziness. The other PMUA commissioners must stop Dunn before anymore damage is done. At least Mitchell has come out strongly against this foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Yet again another reason to disband the PMUA! Williamson??? That's a joke. He knows nothing about running a large business. Success in Plainfield??? Where has Plainfield been for the last 20 years. Let's get real serious about this city and dump the losers. Disband the PMUA now!

Maybe Mr. Yound should start talking about what he knows since he'll soon be out of a J-O-B!

Pat Fox said...

For anyone who has read some of my comments about City Council in the early 2000's killing multi-million dollar development proposals for the downtown North Ave district and Marino's acreage on W. Front St. because "the developers were not minorities" know that this was lead by Malcolm Dunn. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that this "takes the cake" but there always seems to be more "cake" in Plainfield!
STOP PAYING TAXES / STOP PAYING PMUA!!!

Anonymous said...

Stone Square Lodge? Did The Spain Inn close??

Anonymous said...

To Pat Fox that wasn't malcolm Dunn that was lead by yours truly The Late Albert T McWilliams. Dan you prbably will not post this one.

Anonymous said...

To Pat, Thanks you for reminding everyone about that.
To 1249, it was him. It never even made it to Al for review. Look up the write ups in the papers. He made them all for his out right racism towards non-black money coming into the city. He was not going to allow it, even though it would have brought in countless jobs and new business into the city.

Anonymous said...

To all of you complaining about the PMUA commissioners, why aren't you complaining about the fact that this city council approved Mr. Dunn's appointment. You asked for this madness and now you've got it.