The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Council's quiet evening not so quiet after all

... To Inspire Zeal for The Common Welfare...

Tuesday evening's Plainfield City Council meeting was not quite as quiet s its agenda suggested.

With only five members present (Council President Storch is away and Councilor Toliver was absent), the group was at first unable to select someone as President pro-tem. Finally, after several misstarts, Councilor Taylor got enough votes to become queen bee for the night.

However, that meant that someone had to replace her as chair of the committee of the whole. Councilor Williams nominated Councilor Brown, who was elected and the meeting was set to get under way after Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh distributed the appropriate scripts to the players.

Councilor Barry Goode updated the Council and the audience on his "Clean The Queen" cleanup initiative, noting it will continue this Saturday (October 15) from 9:00 AM to Noon, starting at East 2nd Street and Richmond Avenue and ending at East 2nd Street and Berkeley Terrace.

An ordinance (MC 2016-16) adding two parking areas to Title 39 coverage was passed unanimously on second reading without comment from the public.

There were no comments from the public on agenda items.

Twenty of the 28 resolutions were adopted by consent.

Of the eight requiring votes, six were passed without comment, and one (344-16, calling for the purchase of 5 high-def dome cameras) was withdrawn.

Resolution 334-16, amending the 2012 contract with Mitchell Humphrey Software to provide a citywide customer service/property management software system, came under heavy criticism -- again -- from Councilor Bridget Rivers.

Among other things, she objected that the information supplied by the Administration as a result of her request at last week's agenda-setting session did not provide the details she had requested.

After torturing Director of Administration and Finance Ron West for several minutes, the matter was brought to a vote.

And defeated, with Councilor Goode and Williams for, Councilors Rivers and Taylor against the motion, and Councilor Brown abstaining.

Several people spoke during open public comment --
  • John Pritchard reminded all how important it was to bring back Muhlenberg Hospital;

  • Timothy Priano cited numerous issues with street and property cleanliness, dumpsters, and illegal apartments. He presented City Administrator Rick Smiley with a collection of illegal signs Queen City Pride had removed from telephone poles and urged the numbers be called and issued "cease and desist" warnings; and

  • Sal Carrano had questions about how NJ Water goes about notifyinng ratepayers of work on replacing lines from the street, citing several issues ranging from brown water to pipes bursting from not being able to handle the new pressure.
There was also a large delegation of Plainfield taxi cab owners and drivers who complained of unfair competition from gypsy drivers and North Plainfield's Soria cabs, which are picking up customers in Plainfield in violation of the law. I will take their issues up in a separate post.

The next meeting of the City Council will be a combined agenda and business session on Tuesday, November 1st at 7:00 PM at Clinton Elementary School, Clinton Avenue at West 4th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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