Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why "Dis" the Council? Thoughts from a Town Hall Meeting, Part 2

The need for partnerships amongst Plainfield’s elected officials is probably greater today than at any other time in the City’s history, for many reasons. The City is experiencing crises on many levels; its financial house is in disarray, parents are frustrated due to the lack of cooperation from the leadership of the Recreation Division, people are unemployed in record numbers (and many are underemployed), and our residents are living in fear. These times call for cooperation and collaboration between the branches of government. The call to action Town Hall meeting was an opportunity for the Mayor and Council to be leading the charge, together, to fight the forces of crime and violence that have taken over segments of our community. However, the “you stay in your lane, I stay in mine” philosophy expressed by the Mayor at the recent council retreat spilled over into other areas and into the Town Hall meeting.


One is left to wonder why the Council was not given a role at Sunday’s Town Hall meeting, in spite of council members being asked, several days prior to the meeting, to confirm their attendance. Council President McWilliams was on the panel and was not even extended the courtesy to speak or to represent her colleagues’ position to the community. It was at roughly 8:55 pm that she finally jumped into the conversation and stated that she was waiting since 5:00 pm to welcome the audience in her capacity as Council President. Just imagine the feeling of waiting for four hours not to be recognized by the Mayor. Even worse than that is the fact that Councilor Rivers, who was also a panelist (and who represents the ward where most of the acts of violence have occurred) was not even allowed one second of input into the conversation. I was present from about 5:55 pm and observed the presence of three other colleagues, including Linder Carter, and at no time did the Mayor see it fit to recognize any of the members of the governing body. I inquired from Chris Payne if there were any seats available for council members and he told me “no, BLS is handling the seating”. He then offered to place two chairs for my wife and me under a WBLS banner where our view of the panelists would have been obstructed. We opted to stay in the back where I had pulled up two chairs and where we had full view of the stage.


My complaint is not about special treatment, it is simply about respect and protocol. What was also disturbing is that Freeholder Nancy Ward was made to sit on stage from the very beginning of the program until about 8:45 pm before she was given the opportunity to speak, and after speaking for about three minutes, she was cut off rather abruptly in the middle of a sentence.



Mind you, a few weeks ago I suggested to the Council President a meeting with the City Administrator and the Police Director to get an update on the violence and to offer our assistance; we invited Councilor Rivers to join us at the meeting. At that meeting we echoed our concerns about the fact that CCTV in the UEZ zone downtown would not provide the city with enough coverage and would not reach into the areas where the violence was occurring and we offered the immediate assistance of the Council. How did we do that? We told the Administration to create a re-appropriation ordinance for $1millon to go out and acquire gunshot recognition technology that can be deployed throughout the city and that would not be subject to UEZ restrictions. We then made that recommendation from the Finance and Administration committee to our colleagues. As a result of that directive, the Administration brought in a firm, a week or so ago, to do a demonstration of gunshot recognition technology and yet it did not have the courtesy to invite the Council to the demonstration; we read about it in the media. This was the same firm that had a representative on Sunday’s panel.



It is for all of the above reasons that I question why the mayor felt a need to disrespect the Council, given that our only way out of this mess is through a partnership amongst the co-equal branches of government, and partnerships with the communities we serve. Petty politics have no place in a crisis of this magnitude.

Regards,

Adrian

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Because when it comes to the mayor, it is about politics, NOT Plainfield.

Anonymous said...

Councilor, while Annie McWilliams should be lauded for her work as council president, the ideas she is presenting are among those that you have been touting for quite some time. I remember talking to you about the lack of CFO last year and since that is your profession, I can see your fingerprints all over the council’s new focus on accountability on the part of the administration. I am glad that your mantra of holding their “feet to the fire” has resulted in this Fair Act on the part of the council.I hope we can expect more now and when Williams comes on the council.

Adrian Mapp said...

8:32 am, Thank you for your support. Yes I have been discussing and working on many of these ideas, and I am glad that Annie, with whom I work closely, has made sure that they are part of the council agenda this year. We work closely together, but credit should be given to all the council members who collaborate on making the administration accountable to the people of Plainfield. We are all in this together.

Regards, Adrian

Bob said...

We have a mayor who is a camera and microphone hog and it is all about her. I hope she gets her act together and stops playing politics. If she doesn't then there is a strong feeling in the public to recall our ineffective mayor.

Rob said...

Most often those who are incompetent in their job are unable to not only see their own shortcomings, but to actively seek out assistance from truly knowledgeable individuals or organizations or worse yet..seek cooperation from those that are seen as opponents to their incompetence. Hence why the City Council was not actively involved in this charade and goose stepping clown act that Sharon and Jerry set up. Unfortunately, petty politics is all Jerry Green and his puppet can muster. She will continue to disrespect the city council as well as the citizens in Plainfield as she and her string puller Jerry are her only concerns. Her concern over the violence in this city extends no further than the smile across her media loving mug...

Bob said...

Thank you for putting it so well, Rob. Sharon doesn't care about Plainfield or doing the right thing for us.

Anonymous said...

Shame on yo Mapp. Mayor is trying to fight crime, and all you do is whine.

Anonymous said...

Adrian, you are a CFO are you not? While it seems you are not interested in the job, don't you have contacts in the field that might be quailfied to work for Plainfield? Isnt' the council allowed to go out and find potential candidates? Apparantly, they are not easy to find, but it seems like you, of all people, would be inthe perfect position to find someone among your colleagues in the CFO biz.

Anonymous said...

I heard the Ccouncil is looking to vote on the solar panels. Please be very careful with this. There is a lot of informaiton you are not being told about. You must understand that the majority of those approached by the UCIA have declined. So why is Plainfield going along with this? Who benefits from this?

Why is there so little information about this? There are too many unanswered questions on this.

Anonymous said...

Many more questions are being surfaced on solar panels. Why the rush? More Union County municipalities are saying "no". Keep an eye in the news. This is bad for Plainfield - don't let them pull a quick one over us.

dr. e=mc2 said...

Why should you have special seating? If you were really interested in helping why don't you come to where the children are hanging out? There were not any young people at the WBLS presentation......was the superintendent of schools invited? It is an embarrassment......You guys need to get it together.

Anonymous said...

We are ina crisis and you can do is whine and whine?