The needler in the haystack.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The charm school lesson Sharon missed


Maxine Powell, who led Motown's 'charm school'
could have taught Sharon a thing or two.
As Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs presided over her last -- and not well publicized Community Advisory Group (CAG) meeting dealing with the former Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center last Thursday -- I am told she groused that she is not being consulted in the transition planning to a new administration under Mayor-elect Adrian Mapp.

Robinson-Briggs really could have benefited from the 'charm school' run by the late Maxine Powell for Barry Gordy's Motown record label in the 1960s.

Mrs. Powell, who was a stickler for class among her proteges, died at 98 this past October and her obituaries were filled with wry reminiscences of how she instructed her 'diamonds-in-the-rough' to be ready to meet and mingle with Presidents and royalty. (See especially the NYTimes, the LATimes, and the Huffington Post.

When Sharon groused that she wasn't being consulted, Mrs. Powell no doubt would have shot back, 'What have you done that you should be consulted? Did you ever call the Mayor-elect to congratulate him? Is it true that you ordered your Acting City Administrator to advise key employees (in writing, no less) not to cooperate with the transition process? How does your behavior signal people should give you the respect you crave?'

Though I have never found anything to admire in Sharon's management style or grasp of policy matters, I have always thought that her one real strength was that she could be charming and gracious -- when she wanted to.

But charm and grace have not been on display with regard to the incoming administration. Not only has she not congratulated the incoming mayor, she did not take the first step in offering her assistance in a transition. All of which leads me to think of some of Maxine Powell's advice to the Motown singers.

When asked once if any of her students were 'difficult', Mrs. Powell said 'If you're acting negative, you've been conditioned.' And my advice would be 'Let me help you unlearn that and realize and discover what a beautiful flower you are.'

Though it may be too late for Sharon to unlearn bad conditioning for her role as Mayor, there is always hope for the future.

Too bad Maxine Powell is not around to help.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why would she think she would be consulted and who does she think she is instruction employees not to speak to members of the Transition Team. How dare her. Did she inform the incoming Mayor about her less that deserved police promotions so she could reach her former body guard. (Wink Wink). PLEASE JUST LEAVE!

Deborah Dowe said...


The hottest topic at the CAG was as "How to dissolve the CAG?"

From the closure letter...

"The CAG's membership shall include...representatives appointed by the Mayors of all towns of Muhlenberg's primary service areas"

Anonymous said...

Dan many of your readers would like to know if you intend to be equally critical of the incoming administration. Since you and Mr. Mapp sold your souls to Jerry Green to get the Democratic line, you haven't spoken a single negative word against Assemblyman Green thereafter. I know you'll never post this, but just wanted to let you know that everyone in Plainfield isn't buying what you're peddling. I wish Mayor elect Mapp all the best, but for your health's sake; let your hatred of SRB's go!

Dan said...

At 7:57 PM -- So, I posted your comment. Now what?

For my health's sake I should criticize Assemblyman Green or Mayor-elect Mapp?

Something in your logic escapes me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:57pm - Slimey Jerry Green is not worth Dan's time. Ole Jerry Green is going to be here until he is voted out -which seems like never. As long as Plainfielder's continue to vote "the line" we will have to deal with brainless councilpersons such as Bridgette Rivers, William Reid, Vera Greaves and unfortunately Rev Tracey Brown. Rev Brown may be a strong minister, but a weak councilperson who can be easily manipulated by Jerry Green and her girlfriend Sharon Robinson Briggs. And regarding Mapp selling his soul to Ass. Green . . . time will tell and you probably won't need much time.