Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gloria Taylor: A carpetbagger on residency?

Appointed to former Councilor Mapp's seat, Councilor Taylor
introduced the term 'carpetbaggers' into the public discourse.

Plainfield Councilor Gloria Taylor's stand on the city charter's residency requirement for employees reminds me of the famous J. P. Morgan quip, 'A man always has two reasons for the things he does -- a good one, and the real one'.

Except in this case it appears it's a woman.

The point at issue is the matter of making a permanent appointment to the position of Health Officer, currently filled by Denise Proctor.

Councilor Taylor has made the residency demand her hallmark issue ever since appointed by Assemblyman Jerry Green to the Council vacancy created by the election of Adrian O. Mapp as mayor.

Though she originally framed her position as an objection to 'carpetbaggers' (see my March 7 post here), she has retreated from the language ever since it was pointed out that the word refers to those who MOVE IN FROM ELSEWHERE to economically benefit from this new community -- exactly the opposite of the spin Taylor put on the term.

Some have suggested that Taylor -- who moved back to Plainfield from Rahway and lives tax-free in a lovely home in a great neighborhood thanks to an exemption granted to her late husband and former mayor of Plainfield, Rick Taylor -- is something of a 'carpetbagger' herself.

Another reason to find Taylor's position somewhat odd is that she herself served as an administrator for many years in the Paterson school district. Her complaint that not living in the community means an employee won't have the community's best interest at heart leads to the obvious question of whether her service in Paterson was flawed by her not living there. In which case, who is she to lecture the rest of us?

Denise Proctor has demonstrated her value (and her concern for Plainfielders' welfare) in the few short months she has been here. Without her efforts, one has to wonder when (or if) the failure to inspect food-related businesses would have come to light; ditto the public swimming pools, for which there is no evidence health inspections were completed before this year. For these two efforts alone, we owe her our thanks.

As to the question of waiving the residency requirement for the city's Health Officer, let's review --

  • Mark Colicchio, the last full-time HO lived in Elizabeth and was waived by the Council;
  • Jadwiga Warwas, MD, lived in North Jersey and was waived by the Council.
Before that, of course, we have the example of Ruby Hodge, who served in several administrations, lived in Englishtown the whole time, and was waived by the Council.

One of the mayors under whom Ruby Hodge served? Rick Taylor, the late husband of Councilor Taylor.

Which leads me back to the J.P. Morgan quote. If the 'good' reason for Taylor's opposition to waiving the residency requirement for Pryor is the charter's requirement, what is the 'real' reason?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that Assemblyman Jerry Green, Taylor's patron and chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, is on the political outs with Proctor's husband, who happens to be the former mayor of Rahway?

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

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

Some people have reasons we may never know and sometime, in Taylor's case, are evident. Let's hope her obstructionist behavior changes or people vote for someone else in November. I know I am.

Bob Bolmer

Jeff said...

Councilor Taylor is like a dirty diaper and should be changed and discarded. Who the heck cares where they live if they are qualified to do the job. And why is she exempt on taxes if her husband is dead? Should not be. How about we set up a PILOT for her??