Tuesday, July 28, 2009


One of the unanswered questions raised at the Council/PMUA session was the costs of the perks received by PMUA staff and Commissioners. This issue is pertinent to civic government as well as independent authorities. The value of health insurance, dental insurance, long term illness coverage, pension plan contributions, meeting expenses including travel, lodging and food are among perks that can be a major cost item.

Health insurance runs from basic vanilla coverage to highly expensive "Cadillac" plans. According to the Congressional Budget Office; the average employer-sponsored insurance. has a premium of about $5000 for individual coverage and $13,000 thousand dollars for family coverage. (NY Times 7/28/09.)

There is the question whether part time employees at any level should be recipient of any of these perks. In New Jersey's civic positions part time employees with multiple jobs receive pension benefits from all. Too9 often there is a revolving chair in commission, authority or agency appointments all giving perks including early vesting in pension plans. There are examples in the "Soprano State".

PMUA mentioned plans to completely automate its trash and recycle clean ups. This will reduce the number of employees per truck to 1 or2. Who will write t he legislation prohibiting street parking on pick up days? Or will there be alternate street side pickups? What will happen to the handicap or elderly who at present are exempt from curbside placement of the PMUA containers?

Other unanswered questions included; Is there any planned cut in services to weekly pickups?

With the drop in prices for recycles, as a result of the recession is the service loosing money and who will make up the shortfall? This is important since Mr. Watson stated that the designated recycle facility is months behind in its payments to various authorities including PMUA.

There was no exploration of how the Sewer Charges and the so called ' Shared Services" costs could be collected through taxes.

Since the subject of absorption of the PMUA by the city was not broached Monday night there remains a question of responsibility for the PMUA bonds. The public needs information if that road is to be pursued.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Doc,

    I am glad you bring up the subject of alternate parking and/or no parking on pick up days. 3-4 years ago that was one of my first questions since cleaning up the neighborhood was one of my first pet-peeves in Plainfield. I asked about it and was told that anything to do with parking was to be dealt with the Planning Department's new Director, Wenson-Maier.

    I was required to draft a letter with my inquiry and my request, the letter was made and sent, I had a meeting with Wenson-Maier, but nothing came out of that meeting, except that the matter would be looked upon by her department. I guess her Department is still looking at the issue.

    Alternate Parking, or no parking on pick up days, is such a basic service that it is quite a good example of how behind Plainfield is when it comes to services to the community.

    The council could be advocating for such a thing, they could be pressing the Planning Department for a sensible plan, and if well-planned the city could be a)getting a good street cleaning and b)making money for those drivers who "forget" that they need to move their car.

    Unless the council "wakes up" (Annie McWilliams' words) residents will have more questions than answers, and while many of us might have a vision for the city, it's the leadership, or lack of it, that is on the way of meeting and improving basic and simple needs that could dramatically improve the city.

    As for the PMUA commissioners, I hope someone has an answer as why is there need for so many, and if there is really need to provide them with any kind of perks. Other Boards and Commissions don't.

    Thanks for the PMUA report and for helping "wake up" people around here.

    Maria Pellum