The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Williamson hire bringing turmoil to PMUA?

When Plainfield learned that former Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson was to take over leadership of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) this past July, one of the first questions asked was what experience he had that would justify his appointment to head the embattled quasi-governmental agency.

As executive director, Williamson would be responsible for the agency's long-term strategies in both providing services and managing ratepayer expectations. He would be responsible for the overall structure of the agency itself. He would not have to be an expert in solid waste.

In the short time the affable and approachable Williamson has been in the driver's seat, there have been signs that he would move the agency in a good direction.

After years of foot-dragging and muddling through, the PMUA appears to have gotten serious about marketing its services to surrounding communities, with rate cutting done to make the PMUA competitive.

This year's Environmental Fair, the first over which Williamson has had any sway, was probably the best attended ever, with new twists (such as the VIP tent for Seniors) and plenty of environmentally-themed tables that promoted the agency's mission.

But the question arises whether Williamson has been able to escape one of the perennially negative pressures that come with the job -- using the power of hiring to take on people whose chief recommendation for a position is that they KNOW SOMEONE, rather than having the skill set, qualifications and experience for the job.

Now I am told that Mr. Williamson has hired someone
into a manager's position who is said to have a variety of connections to Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

There are questions of the person's qualifications for a manager's position, and front line workers are said to be disturbed -- to the point of threatening a walkout.

Has Williamson made a serious misstep?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

We all know that Williamson was in Robinson-Briggs back pocket and I'm still not convinced he should be in that position. I do know that patronage looms large in the Robinson-Briggs administration and should be investigated. I wish him well, but if he keeps doing things like this, then fire his butt.


. . . is this person DAVE WYNN???!!!

Alan Goldstein said...

I have to take exception to your characterization of PMUA as a "quasi-governmental agency". No agency of any government is quasi-governmental, and in fact PMUA's founding documents, as well as the state's Utilities Act, expressly consider it an "agency and instrumentality" of the city. Its financial statements refer to PMUA as a "component unit" of the city. If it can't meet its obligations, Plainfield taxpayers are on the hook 100%.

A more apt description would be a a "renegade outfit".

Every administration and City Council since its founding has unfortunately passed the buck and failed to hold it accountable. It is operating in contravention of the Inter Local Agreement. Its staffing levels are about 30-50% greater than required. Many of its commissioners are plain stealing compensation in violation of local and state law, with the full complicity of management and legal counsel.

It's a cash cow from which all too many are making money, filled with patronage jobs and easy campaign loot for politicians, which is why no city official ever gives voice to anything close to the reality of the situation.

Williamson, who likely perjured himself in court documents filed on behalf of the city in the lawsuit brought against PMUA several years ago, looks like he is there to continue the game of ripping off the public and providing additional 'legal' cover for its numerous bad practices.

Anonymous said...

Yes he have made a huge mistake. I work for the authority to hire someone in that position was DEAD WRONG. This guy didn't even come through the ranks. We know the job hire us.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dan thanks for caring for the front line worke

Anonymous said...

It is well known that Williamson has hired many of the dead weight back to PMUA.

I'm surprised that he is still taking orders from the mayor as I thought he would be happy to get away from her.

The real question is, where are the people in Plainfield who care about this?

Plainfield will remain in the hands of the self serving powerful until people start waking up and taking in interest in what is going on in this city.

Until then, the, in my opinion, the people most stupid in handling public affairs will stay in power.

Anonymous said...

Let me be the first to say that I think it will be Dave Wynn. Just look at the wonderful job he did at Recreation. My second choice would be Dave Spaulding. We will have to wait and see. If either of these men are selected the residents of Plainfield should file a class action suit.

Anonymous said...

Great Post Dan


Anonymous said...

The whole place is a patronage pit.

If you are the right color, know the right people, from the right family -- you can get a job with pension and benefits -- and be unqualified.

Dan said...

Alan -- I meant 'quasi-governmental' in the sense that the PMUA can tax you and bond you, but the Commissioners are unelected.

It's like the old song: You say tomato, I say tomato....;-))

Alan Goldstein said...

Dan- I didn't mean that to be nit-picking. It's important people realize Dan Williamson argued specifically that PMUA was "independent" and NOT an "agency and instrumentality" of the City. Hopefully he's read the Creation Ordinance, as well as the Inter Local Agreement, since he made his faulty case back when the Council was debating its pay-to-play ordinances.

Accountability fail. 99% screwed.

Anonymous said...

OMG when will the city of Plainfield and the PMUA stop being the democrat employment agencey? We can not afford to create jobs for people.Plainfield is not an employment agencey. We need to cut rates on our PMUA bills and lower our taxes. Remember you get what you VOTE for!

Anonymous said...

It's not Wynn or Spauding but it is the Mayor's "Man", he will probably get kicked to the curb when his services are no longer needed. Shame on you Dan, I thought you had gotten away from the skullduggery but I guess you are in for a penny, in for a pound, I hope the FEDS have enough handcuffs for the whole crew including the new "Man", new to the payroll I mean.

Anonymous said...

Dan these people who think the hire is Dave Wynn don't get it. The mayor's boyfriend is the one who got hired. What do folks think of that?

deacon said...

Isn't the Mayor married? Or is it only the Republican's that have traditional values?

Anonymous said...

Mayor's boyfriend, the one she bought to the stage at the July 4th show? isn't she married? what are His qualifications, is anyone questioning Williamsen? Why are they HIRING people anyway when they are talking about furloughs for the workers? Shame

Anonymous said...

Not only did this person came in with a managers title, but he makes 55,000.oo starting, salary, received a check after 3 days, no degrees,certificates or experience. Has no clue what to do, but sit in a office, read the newspaper & sleep. Is this fair to the other employees thats has been there for years & not even close to his salary.