Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stay the Course with President Obama

This blog post expresses my grave concern about a threat this country faces from an army of invaders who have surrounded the nation’s capital waiting to launch an invasion after the November 2nd mid-term elections. This army can’t wait to launch its assault on the President from within the halls of congress; we must not allow that to happen.

President Obama’s agenda is under attack from members of this invading army known as the Tea Party, short for right wing Republicans. The stakes are high as the millions of corporate dollars legitimized by the nation’s Supreme Court continue to flood our airwaves with misinformation designed to cast doubt on the President’s progressive agenda. Many of the president’s allies in Congress, such as Congressman Frank Pallone and Senator Harry Reid, the shepherds and guardians of his bold reform agenda, are under severe pressure from a tidal wave of corporate dollars aimed at influencing public opinion and creating a presidential derailment. Why, we must ask ourselves? The answer is simple: It is because the president has been able to make decisions that, though unpopular to some, are in the best interest of the nation as a whole.

President Obama’s agenda is a threat to the status quo and to America’s corporate culture of greed. He has given us comprehensive healthcare reform, with all of its imperfections, something that many presidents before him promised but could not deliver. He has given us Wall Street reform and has halted the downward spiral of an economy that had been behaving as if it had been pushed off of a cliff. It is for these and other reasons that the Tea Party army of malcontents is circling the nation’s capital with its wagons.

I urge you to come out for President Obama on Tuesday as you did on that historic day in November two years ago. The change that he promised is not change that can occur overnight, but that change has already begun. It is still change that we can all believe in. We must stay the course with President Obama; it is not wise to change course mid-stream. The forward thrust, though threatened, must continue. To that end, all of the President’s allies need your support; the Democratic Party needs your support.

Therefore, I urge all of you to show your support for the President by supporting Democratic Party candidates at every level of government. I am casting my vote for Frank Pallone, Linda Carter and the other democratic freeholders, Rebecca Williams for the 2nd and 3rd Ward Council At-large seat, and all of the other candidates in column A. A vote for column A, in Plainfield, and for Democrats around the state of NJ and the nation is a vote for President Obama. If you join with me, together we can defeat the Tea Party army.



Column A, all the way!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shared Services: Cost Savings Through Economies of Scale

There has been much talk lately about information technology "shared services" between the Plainfield Board of Education and the City of Plainfield. The last time this was done or attempted, the City paid over $100,000 to the BOE and, to this date, the City has not been able to show the consideration received in exchange for the dollars handed over. As of this writing, I have yet to see an analysis of the benefits derived by the City as a party to that agreement.

Shared services must be more than the signing of an agreement and having one party turn over a check to the other--there must be some tangible measurable benefits derived by all parties to the agreement. There must be savings and or quality improvements!

The New Jersey Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) has been, since 2006, encouraging governmental entities to enter into shared services agreements where it makes sense to do so, and it has published a SHARE (SHaring Available Resources Efficiently) "best practices" handbook to guide municipalities interested in exploring shared services with neighboring municipalities, local school districts, or with county government. The theory of sharing services is simple: cost savings through economies of scale. Click below to download:


The DLGS in the Department of Community Affairs has also made grants available as a means of encouraging the pursuit of shared services agreements. Known as "SHARE," this program provides grants for feasibility studies, implementation, and for county and regional coordination.

One thing that is very clear to me: before taking the plunge into shared services there should be “estimates of cost savings and/or quality improvements.” It should not be about stroking egos, or covering up for shortcomings. It must be about the best interests of all parties.

I am opposed to any shared services agreement that simply takes money from one side of the taxpayer’s ledger and moves it to the other side without a clear articulation and demonstration of cost savings and/or quality improvements. I am for shared services agreements that would result in the delivery of services in a more cost-efficient and effective manner.

The attached handbook provides a plethora of ideas for shared services agreements and cost savings. All these ideas should be evaluated with a view towards embracing those that would deliver real savings. Municipalities should approach the shared services waters with cautious optimism and must avoid testing the depth with both feet; it might be more than they bargained for.

The SHARE best practices handbook should be read by all governmental entities before they take the plunge into the shared services waters in search of savings. The savings must be identified before the plunge is taken. Remember the old adage: “Only fools test the depth of the water with both feet.”



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Governor Christie's Tunnel Vision: A Great Stroke of Genius

Most people would agree that Governor Christie's public persona often times takes on the appearance of the proverbial bull in a china shop. On a recent episode of Myth Busters, a popular program seen on the Discovery Channel, two bulls were allowed to run freely through a china shop stocked with the finest china. To everyone's surprise, the bulls carefully navigated the aisles of the china shop without touching any of the shelves, let alone breaking any of the china.

Governor Christie’s threat to kill the ARC project could be a well thought-out and calculated move designed solely for the purpose of gaining the attention of the Obama Administration and the New Jersey congressional delegation. The Governor’s power play has all the markings of a thug who pushes his prey up against the wall, puts a toy gun to his head, and issues a frightening demand - “your money or your life.” The prey, not wanting to lose it all, and mindful of the many people that would suffer as a result of his untimely demise, reluctantly turns over that which the thug demands. By turning over his cash, the prey escapes with his life and prevents the pain and suffering that might have been the outcome.

Any leader who is able to bull rush or navigate his way through the minefield of state politics to ascend to the office of Governor, knows a thing or two about putting himself out there exposed to public scrutiny. He or she must not be averse to taking risk, and Governor Christie has shown that he is not.

Governor Christie knows the importance of the ARC project to New Jersey and to the many municipalities that are awaiting its completion. The potential for development along the miles of rail lines traveling through many of NJ’s depressed municipalities offers hope for tax relief and stabilization through economic renewal and revitalization. The ARC project will provide a jolt to many stalled projects throughout the state of New Jersey.

Governor Christie’s announced “kill” of the ARC project sent shock waves throughout the state that were felt as far away as the White House. His threat appears, on the surface, to be tunnel vision, but in reality I believe it to be a calculated bluff - a great stroke of genius. I am confident that the Governor will reverse his decision and the project will move ahead at an accelerated pace with promises of additional funding from the federal government.

If, by charging through the china shop, the bull is able to clear the aisles for New Jersey to Access Real China, without the incurring of any breakage that would have to be cleaned up by New Jersey tax payers, then the Governor’s announced kill would truly be a great stroke of genius, and the ends will have justified the means.

Regards, Adrian