Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Wise Men Brought Gifts, Not a Pink Slip

It was ironic that the notice of termination from Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs to City Administrator Bibi Taylor was served exactly one month prior to the birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who spent most of his life fighting for peace and justice for all. It is also worthy to note that the termination was to take effect on the date that a new King was born, the Prince of Peace.

Thus the decision of my colleagues last night proved, in the words of Dr. King, that no lie can live forever, and that truth crushed to earth will rise again. King also said that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.

I believe that justice was served last night and that the best interest of Plainfield was weighed in the balance and preserved. I applaud my colleagues, members of the public, and everyone who had a hand in turning a wrong on its head so that justice could stand erect and be dispensed for all of to see.

The unanimous vote of the council to reverse Mayor Robinson-Briggs’s ill-informed decision again evokes Dr. King's admonition that "...injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." It also reminds those who have faith and believe that the King who was born on Christmas day was the Prince of Peace, not Ebenezer Scrooge, and that the wise men brought gifts, not a pink slip.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

A "Thank You" to Leaders of Unions Representing City of Plainfield Employees

Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated in the meeting on Friday, December 3, 2010 with Cory and me and members of the Council's Finance and Administration Committee, along with City Administrator Bibi Taylor. The meeting gave us an opportunity to interact in ways that we never have before. Our discussions were very candid, and all of us at the table appeared to have an understanding and an appreciation for the difficult roles that all of us must play in the effort to save the jobs of fellow employees. It goes without saying that the task ahead of us is a very difficult and challenging one.

I appreciate your willingness to go back to your rank and file to explore opportunities that could lead to material concessions in both the short and long term. Please know that we, as elected officials, take no joy in making the very difficult decisions that we at times are called upon to make in order to strike a balanced budget under the strictures of the budget law and other applicable statutes. It is in the spirit of current economic reality and consideration for the well-being of all employees and tax payers, as well as a desire to not lay off fellow employees that we seek to establish a partnership that leads to meaningful and compassionate concessions.

Again, I convey our thanks and appreciation to you for extending the invitation, not only to meet with you, but for the spirit in which the meeting was conducted.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ms. Drakeford Deserves an Apology from the Editor of the Courier-News

The editorial in this past Monday’s Courier-News (11/29) left me with the feeling that the editor of the paper reached deep down into the cesspool where some newspaper editors find their material. This editorial was nothing more than a journalistic lynching of a private citizen. At best, it was disparaging and, at worst, it was slanderous to the former Corporation Counsel, Jackie Drakeford.

First of all, for the Courier to opine that “The City Council has hired an old ally of the late former mayor, Al McWilliams” and that by choosing her “guarantees that the probe will be tainted, regardless of the outcome” is just plain wrong. It suggests that all appointees of a chief executive are allies of the chief executive and are therefore incapable of being objective and impartial. If one were to swallow such twisted logic, one might arrive at the conclusion that the current Corporation Counsel, Dan Williamson, is an ally of Mayor Briggs, who appointed him, and that, therefore, any opinion he renders to the City Council pertaining to her would be tainted by his allegiance.

Furthermore, for the editor to insinuate that the probe of the $20,000 expenditure is about “New versus Old Democrats” is a conclusion that has been reached through a pair of myopic lenses. The idea for a probe into the expenditure in question came from Councilor Rashid Burney, who has disavowed any and all connections he has had to the New Democrats; he did so way back in 2005 and has been a loyal disciple of Assemblyman Green and the “Old Guard” ever since.

This probe is about actions that are questionable and the council’s desire to get to the facts so that decisions can be made in the best interest of the tax payers of Plainfield.

Finally, the editor’s conclusion that “What Plainfield needs is someone without any agenda” is an unfair presupposition about Mrs. Drakeford and her politics. Here again, the editor besmirches Mrs. Drakeford by insinuating that she has an ax to grind and would therefore use it to pin the Mayor against a wall.

This kind of journalism that attacks the reputation and credibility of a private citizen who has a stellar reputation must be seen for what it is, an "Evil Knievel" leap of monstrous proportions fraught with danger. It’s a leap that sullies the name of a decent private citizen who has stayed clear of politics for as long as I have known her. She does not deserve to be tarred with the brush of political affiliation.

Mrs. Drakeford deserves an apology from the editor of the Courier-News.