The recent revelation of a $1.6 million error in Plainfield’s introduced SFY2009 budget was not the greatest sin in and of itself committed against Plainfield’s taxpayers; the greatest sins were the administration’s attempt to escape responsibility by throwing the auditing firm under the bus, along with the deafening silence that can be heard from Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.
City Administrator Marc Dashield knows that the auditor is not responsible for preparing the budget; he knows that that responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the Chief Financial Officer. After the CFO prepares the budget, it supposed to be reviewed by the Director of Finance and then the City Administrator in consultation with the Mayor.
Was the $1.6 million error a deliberate attempt to understate the true amount of the mayor’s tax increase, given that she is already campaigning for re-election? Or was this just another in a series of financial blunders that have been evident since this administration took office? Or was this yet another attempt at deception? What ever the real motive might have been, what is crystal clear is that Mayor Robinson-Briggs and members of her administration do not know how to take responsibility for their actions. We all make mistakes on a daily basis; therefore, it is crucial for there to be checks and balances which allow us to catch our mistakes and correct them.
Thus far, we have yet to hear from the mayor, which leaves us to wonder whether she understands the potential impact of this blunder on tax payers or even if she really cares. I subscribe to the “buck stops here” philosophy of management. One should always refrain from blaming others—one should instead take responsibility for ones actions or inaction.
So, to the mayor, I say, come forward and set the record straight, speak the truth to the tax payers and take full responsibility for the failings of your administration! After all, the buck stops with you.