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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Governor Murphy signs Plainfield charter changes

Plainfield was settled in 1685 and chartered as
a city in 1869.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed Plainfield's special charter revision into law on Friday, August 10th, upon returning from his 11-day vacation.

The bill, sponsored by Sen Nick Scutari, Assemblywoman Linda Carter and Assemblyman James Kennedy (as S2763 and A4220), was previously passed by both houses unanimously.

Mayor Mapp had taken up the matter of the charter changes at the July council meeting, highlighting the most important changes: raising the number of new departments to 5, and the number of confidential aides to 10 (2 per department).

He expected to introduce a package of measures at the August meeting to implement the changes,and the August agenda contains an ordinance revising the departments and setting salary schedules.

Among the changes Mayor Mapp outlined are the following --

  • Splitting Administration and Finance into two departments (Ron West would keep Administration and Finance and Shep Brown would head a new Department of Social Services).

  • Public Affairs and Safety would also be split in two. Carl Riley, currently both Police Director and Public Safety Director, would keep the Police Department as Police Director. Mayor Mapp is proposing to reorganize the Fire Department by eliminating the Fire Chief and replacing the position with a Fire Director (yet to be determined).

  • The current Department of Public Works and Urban Development would also be split in two, with Oren Dabney keeping Public Works, and planning and economic development to be moved to a new Department of Economic Development. The new Department would be headed by Valarie Taylor.

  • There would be a totally new Department of Communications, headed by the Mayor's chief of staff Jazz Clayton-Hunt and including Information Technology and Media.

Although the charter changes became law upon the governor's signing the bill, the changes will have to be adopted by the Council in August and September.

Ordinances introduced on first reading in August would have to wait for a second reading and final passage in September.

With a 3-week period until ordinances can take effect, it looks like early October until the ducks can be lined up.

Plainfield City Council's combined August meeting is set for Monday August 13 at 7:00 PM at the Council Chambers / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street.

Parking available in the street or in the lot across from Police Headquarters.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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