As many of my readers know, I have consistently made the case for the re-absorption of the PMUA into the city’s operation. I have taken this position out of concern for the rate payers, and out of a genuine concern for the frontline employees whose jobs have been threatened by the mismanagement of resources of the PMUA and the conspicuous consumption of its retired executives.
The recent proposal by PMUA commissioners to furlough the frontline employees in order to pay for the egregious over $1 million settlement paid to the retired employees, coupled with the very harsh rebuke from the commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs, makes this issue impossible for anyone to remain silent on.
Thus, it is important for the workers of the PMUA to recognize their real enemy. It is not those on the council, including me, who want very much to protect their jobs by absorbing them into the city’s work force. The enemies of the PMUA workers are those who would have them furloughed in order to pay for a settlement that is hard for even supporters of the PMUA to swallow. PMUA frontline employees are being deceived and bamboozled by those leaders who have gotten fat from gluttony at the public trough and contempt for rate payers.
I was appalled when I learned that the PMUA executives offered to haul the solid waste of a municipality with a population of 65,000 for a mere $8 million, while charging the 50,000 residents of Plainfield $12 million. How is this fair to our struggling ratepayers? The municipality with the population of 65,000 currently contracts out its solid waste for $4 million. Needless to say, the PMUA’s former executives were laughed out of town with their $8 million proposal.
This example clearly demonstrates how the PMUA leaders have priced themselves out of the solid waste market, making it impossible to attract external customers while at the same time rendering the authority a burden to rate payers in Plainfield and a threat to the future of its frontline employees if is not reined in.
Therefore, I say no to the proposed furloughing of PMUA employees, and no to the very bad and misguided idea the PMUA commissioners suggested of having the workers pay for the $1 million plus payout to the retired executives. I say yes to absorbing the PMUA frontline employees into the city’s workforce; yes to reduced rates, and yes to tax relief for homeowners.
I am for reining in the PMUA and protecting the jobs of its frontline employees.