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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Monday's Council: Two meetings, two agendas, too much drama?

Like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland
it will be important not to be late Monday evening.

Plainfield's City Council meets in two back-to-back meetings Monday evening. The question is: How much drama will there be? And at which meeting?

I was the third person to show up at the City Clerk's office late Friday afternoon, looking for the backup work to the agenda for the Special Meeting called for 6 PM tomorrow. (I was told Bernice and Olddoc had already checked in and were given the same answer I got: We don't have the backup material yet.)

Thinking the material may be waiting to be transferred from the City Administrator's office to the Clerk, I stopped across the rotunda to check. It wasn't ready, but it was my good fortune to run into Mayor Mapp and put a couple of questions to him about the special meeting which he has called.

The mayor advised that there was only one item on the executive session set for 6:05 PM and that was to interview a candidate for the long-vacant Chief Financial Officer's position. While he wouldn't give any details about who was being proposed, Mayor Mapp did volunteer the candidate was 'probably the best CFO in the state'.

Council watchers need to take note: This interview will likely not take long; even the most recalcitrant Council member hardly wants to be seen to be obstructing an appointment that is so badly needed.

So, I would suggest getting to the Council Chambers/Courthouse by no later than 6:15 PM. The point being that when the Council emerges from the executive session, it will immediately launch into the business of the special meeting, including the public's ability to comment on agenda items before action is taken.

While the many appointments to boards and commission proposed have drawn considerable interest -- especially since the public does not know who is proposed at this point -- my eye was caught the last several items of the agenda called for by the Mayor.

Mayor Mapp is proposing once again to tackle the delinquent tax penalty rates. It will be interesting to see if the Council members who are in arrears (and would benefit financially by reducing the interest rate penalties) will have the cajones to vote against the City's traditional resolution (which these same folks adopted time and again under Mayor Robinson-Brigss, without comment or protest).

Then there are four proposed ordinances. Two dealing with judge's salaries seem unremarkable.

But two are to establish a new job title of 'deputy police director' and a salary band for same.

And they are placed at the end of the agenda, which in the special meeting is controlled by the Mayor, who has called the meeting.

A little horse-trading?

As for the 'regular' meeting, which was postponed from this past Tuesday and gets under way at 8:00 PM, the interesting items appear under the Corporation Counsel's section of the agenda and appears to involve settlements of claims (judging from the names of the claimants, having to do with tax liens) against the City.

Would be interesting to know more details about these. And also whether any of the lienholders involved in Plainfield tax lien sales have been involved in the tax lien bid rigging activities that have been in the media in recent months.

Will there be any drama at either Monday meeting? Depends on what you consider dramatic, I guess.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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