The needler in the haystack.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

6 months in, Council and Mapp administration still dealing with Robinson-Briggs manure in the roadway


Robinson-Briggs administration, the gift that keeps on giving.

Six months into Mayor Adrian Mapp's term, both Council and administration are still picking up the manure dropped in the roadway by the Robinson-Briggs administration.

Last night, it was Resolution 243-13. On its face, it is intended to contractualize the relationship with a vendor the Mapp administration says has been videotaping City Council meetings for 'at least a year'.

Everyone seemed to weigh in --

  • Lamar Mackson asserted it was an attempt to replace his son Lamar with a contracted provider;

  • Former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs used the resolution as the 'hook' for her comments on the firing of Lamar Mackson, saying if he was fired as an 'at will' employee, there should be an explanation;

  • Council President Bridget Rivers demanded to know the reason for the resolution but did not comment when informed the Mapp administration wished to formalize the relationship begun under Robinson-Briggs;

  • Councilor Taylor said of the resolution, 'I don't like that way of doing business...this is not right...I don't like doing business like this'.
Administration & Finance Director Ron West was summoned to the mike twice to explain the resolution. Seeming to try and keep his annoyance under control, West tartly told the Council that the resolution was meant to correct a situation inherited from the prior administration.

West explained that the young woman doing the taping had been a city employee and was let go in 2013. However, under Lamar Mackson's direction she was then paid at an hourly rate to videotape the Council meetings. No explanation of the set-up was ever made by Mackson or Robinson-Briggs and casual observers were probably unaware.

After this little kerfuffle, when the item finally came up in the order of business it was passed unanimously by voice vote without further comment.




Well, lookee here...

This is just one more example of horse manure left in the roadway by the Robinson-Briggs administration. Last month, in adopting the budget, the Council discreetly added a line item to cover over $3,000 in eats and treats from Leon's Catering in North Plainfield for which Robinson-Briggs had never submitted purchase orders during her term. Seems the Council is quite willing to overlook her sloppiness while holding Mayor Mapp to a different standard. Where is Councilor Taylor's statement of shock at 'that way of doing business'?

THE MAPP TRANSITION REPORT

Lamar Mackson, speaking once again about his son Lamar's firing, used Resolution 243-14 as a way in. But his main focus was on criticizing the Communications section of the Mapp Transition Team report. (See the full online report here; the relevant sections are the executive summary with nine recommendation on pages 12-13; and the full committee report on pages 45-50, which notes findings gleaned from interviews -- including with Lamar Mackson -- and includes 11 immediate action steps and six 6-month projects).

The elder Mackson points out that the [now ex-] Public Information Officer served on that committee and suggested her subsequent hiring by the Mapp administration was 'set up', and insisted the report was 'completely negative' and included no mention of the positive things [Lamar] had done.

As the chair of that committee, I think the report stands on its own two feet and invite everyone interested in the Mackson matter to read it in full.

Lamar Mackson cooperated completely with the committee in examining the role of PCTV in the overall communications structure of the City. The point of the whole transition investigation and report was to give incoming Mayor Adrian Mapp an overview of the situation on the ground with various areas of city government and to highlight concerns and issues that needed immediate addressing as well as longer-range planning.

I stand by the committee's findings, its report and its recommendations (which made no mention of the tenure of any employee -- including Mackson).

If Robinson-Briggs had cared so much for Mackson's job security, why didn't she do more to ensure his civil service status? For that matter, why didn't Mackson himself do more?

Is it time to move on?

And to hope there is no more Robinson-Briggs horse manure in the road ahead?


  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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2 comments:

active citizen said...

Unfortunately, Dan, there is a lot of "stuff" hidden under the rug, so we may encounter unpleasant leftovers from the last administration. I wish Taylor would speak in a way everyone could understand. I'm still not sure what she meant. Did she mean we should not have written agreements or that not having them was good. The Third Ward really elected a doosie with her. As a school teacher, you would think that Ms. Taylor would know how to speak succinctly and clearly.

Bob Bolmer

Anonymous said...

It seems that no one, the Council, Administration or bloggers have a clue what is really going on regarding the Media Department. Let's be clear...The vendor that was filming the Council Meeting has been an employee since 2011. First as a seasonal employee, then a vendor after the entire media department was shut down for 9 months. Once funding was approved, The current audio/visual specialist was hired, a few weeks later, the young lady was brought back on as an hourly. Mackson came on approx 6 months later in 2013. The young lady did not make the cut for a full time position and was made a vendor once again. No position in Media has or had authority to hire or fire anyone, let alone any directives. The Media department was under the IT division until the Mapp administration, attempted to have Media report directly to the PIO and Chief of Staff. There are so many misconceptions that everything is now conjecture . Has anybody spoken to the Media staff to get some perspective or truth for that matter? I watch PCTV and if you pay attention to the credits, you will discover that more than one person has input into the programs produced. Mackson did nothing wrong and it was witch hunt from the day MAPP took office. Lamar's cicvil service status was promised directly by Mapp since the previous City Admin.. Eric Berry dropped the ball. That never happened, I wonder why? PIO anyone?