Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

City Hall, Board of Ed mysteries

With the announcement that Plainfield's City Administrator Eric Berry is jumping ship as of next Monday (see the Courier story here; Bernice here), the as-yet-unsolved mystery is who will be at the wheel.

With a little over a hundred days remaining in her second term, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs will have to choose someone to fill the post. Unless she thinks to fill it herself, as she did before hiring Berry in 2011, she will need to appoint another member of the administration.

That pretty much means choosing between Public Works and Urban Development Director Eric Watson and Administration and Finance Director Al Restaino. Unless Her Honor fancies giving it another whirl herself; though there is some question whether she is actually able to do so as a person is limited to one ride on the merry-go-round in an 'acting' position and no more.

Meanwhile, down Park Avenue, the Board of Ed has a mystery or two of its own.

First is that after publicity that the Board was looking to hire new attorneys after Board President Wilma Campbell made an ethical mess by orchestrating the hiring of a law firm connected to her husbaand's business (see my posts here, here, and here), no action has yet been taken though law firms have responded to a request for proposals.

What is that about? Is Campbell afraid to move the matter forward as she gets into the thick of this year's school board race? It certainly would put her ethical lapses under the microscope. And if she recuses herself, her prior behavior will be even more suspect by contrast.

The other mystery at the Board of Ed has to do with appointments. At its August business meeting, the Board published long lists of appointments of teachers and administrators for the 20143-14 school year. At last night's meeting a few loose ends were addressed.

Except for one.

Business Administrator and Board Secretary Gary Ottman has not yet been appointed for the 2013-14 school year. A tenured employee with twenty years service in the Plainfield district, this lapse is unheard of.

Is Campbell interested in shifting the blame for her ethical lapses regarding the schools attorneys onto Ottman, despite her own glaring actions in the matter?

Are Board President Campbell and Superintendent Anna Belin Pyless setting themselves up for charges of creating a hostile workplace environment?

Only time will tell.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Dottie Gutenkauf said...

Dan, it's not Eric Watson, it's Eric Jackson--BIG difference!

Anonymous said...

Common Dan

Ottmann is scheduled to make over 180k more than the supt especially when the board does not want to give increases to its teachers does this make since

Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: please, please resume posting comments - they are often crazy but sometimes cogent. For me, always interesting. Thank you. A loyal reader and fan.