The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2015 Council leadership maneuvers

Will Plainfield slouch toward more just and more capable
government in 2015?

Plainfield City Council is slated to meet next Monday, December 15, to discuss its 2015 reorganization.

With the departure of Councilor Bill Reid, who has served for several years as chairman of the committee of the whole, the prospects open up for a reshuffling of leadership positions.

Ward 3 Councilor-elect Gloria Taylor is said to be vying for support as Council President, even though she will not be seated as an officially elected official until the 2015 term starts.

If chosen, she would replace Ward 4 Councilor Bridget Rivers, who has served quite capably as Council President for two years. The president's position is powerful as the president has great discretion over what gets on the Council agenda and the manner in which business meetings are conducted.

It is no secret that Taylor is ambitious to be a 'player' ever since handpicked by Assemblyman Jerry Green to fill the temporary vacancy created by the election of Councilor Adrian Mapp as Mayor.

However, Taylor is no charm school grad and her imperious and schoolmarmish manner are said to be resented by most, if not all, of her colleagues.

Additionally, she did herself no favors when she is said to have remarked earlier this year about Council President Rivers in front of several City Hall employees that 'that silly little girl doesn't know what she is doing'.

The second most important office is that of chair of the committee of the whole, responsible for conducting the discussions at the agenda-setting sessions. Though formally more or less a moderator's position, skillful chairs can have a large influence on whether items move forward or not.

With Councilor Reid retiring, this position may be the one most jockeyed over.

Ward 2 Councilor Cory Storch, completing his twelfth year in 2015 and the longest-serving current member, and 1/4 At Large Councilor Vera Greaves are both up for re-election in 2015 if they choose to run.

Storch has never shown much sign of interest in the chairmanship, but should not be ruled out. Greaves is said to be on Assemblyman Green's hit list and is not considered a contender.

That leaves 2/3 At Large Councilor Rebecca Williams and At Large Councilor Tracey Brown. Brown, pastor of Ruth Fellowship, an influential and active congregation, has had schedule conflicts from time to time and may find the chairmanship burdensome.

Councilor Williams, a professor at Essex County College, is a possibility. With Reid -- her constant nemesis -- retiring, Williams' only really unrelenting opponent on the governing body is Taylor, which gives her a shot.

Newcomer Diane Toliver will replace Reid as Ward 1 representative. An unknown quantity, she is not likely to be considered for a leadership role until she has 'earned her spurs'.

As has been noted elsewhere, Acting Director of DPWUD Eric Watson's appointment is set to expire on December 15. Mayor Mapp has made no public move yet to seek an extension or to get Council advice and consent on his permanent appointment. There is a possibility that a special meeting could be called Monday to address that issue as well.

As of Wednesday morning, the time for Monday's Council meeting has not been established. Stay tuned.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Jeff said...

God help us if Gloria, queen of "no body told me, I didnt get the memo" gets in as President. Its bad enough having her on council. My vote is for Rebecca on this one. Assuming she even wants it.