Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rahway example underscores outrageousness of PMUA $1M settlement

The $1 million severance package for former Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) executives Eric Watson and David Ervin came to mind at once when I read of the settlement made with Rahway's city administrator and redevelopment director Peter H. Pellissier (refresh your memory on the PMUA matter here).

Rahway's City Council on Monday agreed to a severance package of $163, 344, as reported by blogger Mark Hrywna on his Rahway Rising blog (see

It should be noted that Pellissier has served since 1991 -- with the exception of four years -- and as redevelopment director was responsible for tens of millions of dollars of developmennt and redevelopment in Rahway over the years.

Despite bummers such as the failed Dornoch project (another development scheme of Plainfield's Senior Center developer, Glen Fishman), Pellissier oversaw many successful mixed use projects that have transformed downtown Rahway, plus an aggressive plan for the development of an arts district.

Given the value that Pellissier has brought to Rahway, the skimpiness of the $163K severance package contrasts sharply with the lavishness of the $1 million settlement on Watson and Ervin that was personally engineered by then newly-appointed Commissioner Malcolm R. Dunn and alternate Cecil Sanders, with help from Commissioner Alex Toliver.

(An interesting sidelight is that Pellissier's agreement was by a 6-0 vote of the Rahway City Council, with three members absent. Among the absent was 5th Ward Councilor Jennifer Wenson-Maier, whom Plainfielders will recall with varying amounts of contempt as Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' first Department of Public Works and Urban Development director.)

Nor are Plainfield ratepayers finished with unpleasant changes at the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA).

With a new alignment of the City Council after January 1 and the swearing-in of Robinson-Briggs' pastor, the Rev. Tracey Brown, as councilor at-large, we can expect the Mayor to once again move the appointment of Sanders as a permanent member and the demotion of former mayor Harold Mitchell to alternate status. Brown, who attended her last meeting as a PMUA Commissioners on Tuesday, will have to step down as she assumes her council seat, and that PMUA vacancy will also have to be filled.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe..


Bob said...

It's scary the a Robinson-Briggs ally will be on the City Council and even scarier if you attended any of the town-hall forums where se advocate public housing and grants as the way to make Plainfield more prosperous. I have little hope that Brown will serve the people of Plainfield well, or that the PMUA will get any better. Get rid of them all!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Annie McWilliams for your going away present to Plainfield PMUA rate-payers, MALCOLM DUNN.

It may be easy to blame the Mayor for every thing but let's not forget how Adrian Mapp and Annie approved these appointments, (Dunn and Sanders), over the objections of two other new dems on the council.

And why aren't the blogs talking about the employment by the PMUA of 78 year Harold Gibson to a newly created job, Head of Security. This so soon after former Plainfield City Corporate Council Dan Williamson takes over. Williamson another result of Annie's gift - Malcolm Dun.

Anonymous said...

Any severance package, whether $1 million or the "skimpy" $163K should be an outrage to all taxpayers. Rahway's redevelopment is not as rosy as you think. Taxpayers have to foot these severance packages for exactly WHAT? Pellissier also violated pension laws while he was living in Montana, collecting a pension and yet somehow still working for Rahway. Always sticking it to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said... can't get rid of them.....they are entrenched,,,loyal to each other and, I believe, feel that those in control have certain loosely defined "entitlement" to access and dispense public funds to the benefit of themselves and their constituency. Consider the powers assumed by the Commissioners. Of their own volition these Commissioners awarded $1,000,000, plus paid the plaintiff's legal fees of an additional approximate $85,000. Add to these sums the PMUA's own legal fees spend in a sham defense of the suite. We should also note that precedent to suite being filed by the "Retirees" the Commissioners had awarded them a settlement in the amount of approximately $250,000. How could any prudent executive pay anyone $250,000 without as a condition obtaining a release from any future claims??? The action can only be described as "bizarre".

And, what is the restraint, if any, on the future largesse of the Commissioners? If they can award $1,000,000 why noy $2,000,000, or $10,000,000.....or $100,000,000. Reductio ad absurdum! Mr. Williams, as an attorney you should be familiar with that phrase.The appropriate method of protest is TO OPT OUT. When a sufficient number of people OPT OUT the Agency will no longer be able to sustain the operation. That will lead either to appropriate reform, or dissolution.
The rank and file should be the most vociferous in demanding reform in order to preserve their jobs. It is the small homeowner who is being most severely damaged by the exorbitant rates.
Bill Kruse

Anonymous said...

Dan, Did the PMUA duo Eric and Dave get to collect unemployment while the waited for their million dollars? This past 7 years of Robinson-Briggs/Green team along with the PMUA has financially bankrupted us taxpayers while making the Green team rich $$$$$ How much commission did the Green team get from Eric & Dave?