Thursday, August 19, 2010


A pragmatacist might say "If it is too good to be true, it probalbly is too good to be true". That may sum up the UCIA sponsored solar energy project.

The pitch is that not only will it be a money saving venture for the participating entities, Municpalities, Boards of Education, and others but will also be a source of income. The later was not emphasised by he two speakers from the UCIA lat monday night's meeting before the Council voted uibnamiouslty to participate.

Although questions were asked by Council members the vote to accept participation was unanimous. AS mentioned in Tuesday's Plainfield Today the speakers were not clearly audible although they swere using the "public microphone". One represented the vendor and the young woman I believe represented the legal office for UCIA. Most of remarks included the phrase "you know" in answer to questions.

My understanding is that this Resolution is on an agreement to be a participent but supposedly not binding to the proposeed 15 year contract to buy Electricity from a third party vendor. The pitch was that this vendor would sell the commodity "Electricity" much cheaper than PSEG. Numbers banty around were as much as 30% although I believe that 15% savings was the com mon denominator>Of the savings 50% would come back to the municipality. Sounds great.

However the rate guaranteed for the duration of the contract applied only to the commodity, "electricity" which has to delivered over PSEG wires. Moreover it applies only to the four municipal buildings that are satisfactory for solar panels placements
Not having done the mat, I wonder if a 15% saving on the commodity, electricity, generated in only 4 buildings that met the utility's requirement standards would be sufficient to sign a long term agreement. Remember all costs of delivery would soon be assessed by PSEG.

The 4.4 million bond refinancing agreement resolution noted that it was subject to conditions enumerated in attached exhibit A which was not available in the packet for public view. The City Administrator's explanation in reply to a question was not completely informative , however she emphasized that it had the approval of the State.

Republican Council candidate, Jim Pivnichny remarked on the number of resolutions appointing various legal firms as counselors. It was noted that the City's legal staff consists of one full time and two part time lawyers. The numerous firms used were needed due to their special expertise. An accounting of the total legal costs to the city for services rendered and also for settlement of suits would be helpful in understanding costs. Perhaps CBAC will find a comparison with other similar New Jersey Cities.

On the subject of Lawyers I must once again point out the anomaly in the Plainfield Charter as to the relationships of the Corporation Counsel with the Mayor and with the Council.

As you know the Corporation Counsel is the legal resource to the Council but attends the meetings as a member of the Administration. He is appointed by the Mayor, with Council consent, to serve for the duration of the Mayor's term or wish. Corporation Counsel serves at the Mayor's pleasure. n any conflict between Administration and Council it would e very difficult for the Corporation Counsel to represent Council's position. The Council could hire its own lawyer and provision must be made from available funds which might be difficult.

The Charter is defective, Council must have its own attorney. For economic reasons neither should be, as was in the past, a full time position. Therefore two salaries could be fitted in where one is now.