Thursday, February 11, 2010

CLOWN CITY

Plainfield the Queen City, oops the Clown City. Well at least the latest public exposure was only limited to the metropolitan area, not nation wide. That is unless Fox decides to use Arnold Diaz's "Shame" episode on its national news channel.

2/11/2010,10:20AM-- (Addition) I must remind all who have seen the Diaz spot that it is highly edited as to content, and often as in many media presentations including interviews, matter can be presented out of context and give an erroneous impression which the reporter desires. Therefor, any judgement should not be made solely on this TV broadcast.

Although the Superintendent and his two proteges were the subjects, Plainfield's shame should not rest there. Two members of the BOE were vocal in that short segment. If I am not wrong, the Superintendent is selected and hired by the BOE. The BOE apparently gave him a free run, not exercising its fiduciary responsibility, by permitting him to not disclose information about key employees. By failing to understand or insisting upon the true relationship between a "governing board" and the CEO they employed they opened the door for a potential scandal to be leaked to the public.

It seems that in the past few years the sitting board has made many poor choices in picking key administrative personnel resulting in costly buy outs with the wasting of funds need for educational purposes. The manner of selection is immaterial. If the candidates were recommended by search firms, perhaps their track record was not investigated.

But the blame should not belong to the BOE but rather to the 85%plus voters in Plainfield who do not chose to elect the board members. The electorate of Plainfield has total responsibility for all the bad that has plagued this community for years.

For years I have advocated the abandoning of the elected board in favor of an appointed one. I acknowledge that the present city administrations capabilities for the past four years have been questioned. The track record of appointed boards such as the PMUA governors in exercising fiduciary controls is open to scrutiny. The question of political favoritism in appointments is always present. However I would rather have the 50% of the electorate that vote for the mayor rather than 6 to 14% who participate in the school board elections, be responsible for selecting the BOE members with the approval of the Council.

As a compromise which I have no knowledge of being tried or legally permitted in New Jersey, a BOE composed of 50% elected and 50% appointed members might work well, Anything is better than what we have had.

There has to be a reason that according to Wednesday's Courier news Plainfield's cost in educating a student was 30% above the State average and only exceeded by I believe three CN service area communities that are rated high in the "wealthiest list".

Once again I have to express my disappointment in the manner in which the Council handled the Recreation Divisions request for UEZ funds. I think we are entitled to also be informed about the submitted support data, which was not available at the agenda setting session, that convinced the Council to approve. I hope we are not in for another year of the Council being presented with items which must be acted upon because of time constrictions.

7 comments:

  1. Finally, someome see the real truth. Under BOE BR, Gallon was allowed to run a muck and BR covered it all up. Wait until the rest of his foolishness is exposed. And that will be soon!

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  2. The BOE needs to share in the blame. They are supposed to be responsible adults tasked with protecting the school system and its kids. Are there training programs for BOE members like there are for municipal elected officials and board appointees (Planning boards ...) Someone should see if Rutgers has anything.

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  3. I'm sorry, but I believe the FULL blame lies with Carmen Centuolo. Do I believe the BOE has to take some blame in this, yes definitely. Centuolo knew about this situation for a long time, and instead of stepping in like any good boss, she chose to ignore the situation. Remember, she gets PAID to do her job!

    As for the Board, now that it's exposed for all of the tri-state area to see, we have to hold them accountable to make the changes necessary.

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  4. Yes but while we hold the BOE and Carmen Centuolo accountable, who holds the tax payers of Plainfield accountable? We do nothing so we get nothing. Shame, Shame, Shame on us!!!

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  5. Doc, I am with you on the UEZ funds allocation. Cory Storch stated that Ms. Taylor was going to have to hold the Rec department's feet to the fire to make sure the funds were spent wisely. Let's think about this.

    Ms. Taylor has a 74 million dollar budget she has to administer. The UEZ funds have nothing to do with her budget. Cory Storch wants Ms. Taylor to track 40K that is not part of the city budget? I suspect Ms. Taylor has more brains than that.

    It seems that the administration's do nothing push down theory is taking hold.

    Administration does nothing to introduce to the council a well thought out budget. The Administration did nothing and pushed it down to the Council.

    The council does not demand accountability or proof for the 40K they gave to the rec department. The Council does nothing and pushes down to the City Administrator.

    Thankfully, we have a City Administrator who is astute enough to know where her priorities lie.

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  6. The Council totally sucummbed it;s responsibility on the UEZ project. Hiding behind the generic umbrella of "accountability" they capitulated thier responsibility and rewarded the administration for not making any justification on why they should get $55,000.

    Who is going to hold the Council responsible for it's failures? McWilliams, Storch and Mapp are allowing the Mayor wild and spend our money.

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  7. Great post. Yes, the blame is really on the electorate. I agree with your suggestion of a partially appointed BOE. It is legal in Jersey, but Plainfield has an ordinance against it. New Brunswick has a 100% appointed BOE. I used to think this was terrible, until I began to compare the two districts. New Brunswick is a bigger city with higher crime rate and higher poverty levels. Yet, they do not have the problems that Plainfield does. Why? Because the mayor has appointed qualified and competent people to the BOE. THey have better test scores, a new high school build with state, federal, and grant funding, great progrmams within the schools, alternate schools as well as gifted programs, and at lerast one blue ribbon school. If the BOE slips up, they get fired. Here in Plainfield, whichever yahoos attend the biggest churches get their fellow churh goers to vote for them and then they do whatever they weant. Plainfield needs to think about an appointed BOE.

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