Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, August 18, 2014

Council skates on thin ice tonight with two issues

Will the Council fall through?

Plainfield's City Council will be skating on thin ice tonight if it takes up two proposed items -- the ordinance to convey public land to the Housing Authority of Plainfield, and the matter of a residency waiver for Health Officer Denise Proctor.

As has been widely observed, the proposal to convey the parking lot at the corner of West 2nd Street and Central Avenue to the Housing Authority, who would pass it along to a developer to build a residential-only rental complex, is fraught with issues.

There are questions of whether HAP is a reliable partner, whether there is really a developer, and what is the rush.

But most importantly -- and the reason for the thin ice metaphor -- is that the proposed giveaway, vigorously pushed by Council President Bridget Rivers, is in violation of the proper procedures.

As it stands now, that space is used by the public and relied upon by adjacent businesses for their well-being. The public taking of the property without an opportunity for the adjacent parties to be heard would be an outrage.

The kind that would lead businessmen to throw cases of tea into the harbor, if we had a harbor.

The other item that puts the Council in a bind is the possible 'interview' of Denise Proctor in relation to a waiver of the residency requirement.

The Health Officer is not one of the positions which the charter requires the Council to give 'advice and consent' to. What is there to interview about? What is the legal ground on which the Council would stand if it did conduct an interview?

Or would it be putting itself on thin ice and exposing the city to liability?

City Council meets for its regular business meeting in the Council Chambers/Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and Est 4th Street at 8:00 PM this evening. All are welcome.

[Apologies to Ms. Proctor for garbling her name in the original post. -- Dan]

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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