Monday, April 18, 2011

IN DEFENSE POTPOURRI

Dan Damon in his "Clips" facilitator blog on Friday remarked that Plainfied's  political boss* was attacking me in his blog. I did not consider it as a personal attack but rather  using my blog as a vehicle to  confront  those who would indirectly attack him through his politically anointed office holder. He has been put in a position as the local "Boss" to defend the Mayor and those in City Hall who may have been involved with the infamous "Scarlet Letter" or dump them by cutting all ties. That could not be a good move if  his control were to survive.

Assemblyman Green did write on April12 " I just feel that some people will try to make an issue that they have no proof as to who did or even where it was done, but will try to makes others feel guilty. Already, I see council members spending more time talking about investigation. Whether it is the $20,000 the Mayor spent, or other issues I feel are minor when compared to this year’s budget. They have already had three months to sit down with the Board of Education, where the council members and board members have joint meetings to see where they could consolidate services that will avoid negatively impacting the classroom and teaching staff."  The bold face is mine and I have crossed out the last sentence in the paragraph as being immaterial to the subject.

 On April 15 while "Cleaning up the local Potpourri"(http://jerrygreenspage.blogspot.com/2011/04/cleaning-up-local-potpourri.html) he wrote, (and I have inserted the link since I will be omitting part of a very long document ): "Reading Doc’s blog today, I would like to make myself VERY clear. Often when people read something they like to put spins on the content, and the spin they place on it makes no sense whatsoever.
When I mentioned the investigation regarding the Mayor and $20k, it would have been very simple on everyone’s part, the Council and even Doc yourself, to pick up the phone and call the Attorney General’s office to file a complaint as a taxpayer in the City of Plainfield. That office would have taken the appropriate steps to bring in professional investigators to investigate the matter. If anything criminal was to come out of it, it is obvious that the individuals involved would leave themselves wide open for criminal charges.
That is no different than the ‘Scarlet Letter’** matter; the same steps could have been taken. Leave that up to the professionals in law enforcement to investigate these matters. If anything criminal has been done, then it is up to them to use the system for these individuals to pay for their crime.
 What I see and hear is a lot of grand-standing, and Doc this what I mean when I say this is small when compared to the budget problems in which the City is facing."

Jerry, if I had sufficient indication that there was "criminal activity" I would try to involve the media, preferably the press to expand  documentation and hope the publicity might force the Attorney General or the US District Attorney, especially if Federal funds were involved, to take some action. You know that I as an "at least a 100 year old"  blogger would have little impact with either agency. The clock is ticking and why waste time.

But let us address the principles involved; If there is a question of an irregularity the City Charter delegates that right to investigate to the Council (2:8) with the right to subpoena witnesses including the ex-City Administrator and provides penalties including jail time for uncooperative witnesses. What the Council can not do is remove the Mayor or a Councilman from office. The Mayor does not have the power of investigating.  Therefore it is the council's DUTY to conduct an investigation when there is a question that funds designated for one purpose were diverted without authorization  to an other unrelated use. And, if this has happened then it is up to the Council to make a  report to legal authorities if the situation warrants charges of criminal action or recommend corrective action..

The  problem that frustrates the Council is the 3 vote veto power that exists in the Council as constituted. Next year there may be a reversal of the "power" in the Council or a super-majority. The voters will decide that in November.

We bloggers are not obstructing the governance of the City of Plainfield. Our function is to be when needed watchdogs for the people, their advocates against perversion of power. The one thing we do is not hide behind a veil of anonymity but take responsibility for what we write., as do you Assemblyman .


*"A boss, in politics, is a person who wields the power over a particular political region or constituency. Bosses may dictate voting patterns, control appointments, and wield considerable influence in other political processes. They do not necessarily hold public office themselves. In fact, most historical bosses did not." The recent Committee meeting to pick the  primary party slate by reports was run in an dictatorial not democratic manner.

** The Scarlet Letter was refered to the County Prosecutor. What is the status of the Mayor's own             'internal investigation" a report should have been given at the Council meeting?

3 comments:

  1. Rob, Thank you for your comments. Just a little to strong for me to post. But be assured you have made those points many a time, so the readers are well aware of your position.

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  2. Yes indeed on two of your points.

    "Our function is to be when needed watchdogs for the people, their advocates against perversion of power."

    And of course the need is all the time. If it's on the blogs we might get action, or if the hordes are mobilized to cow the city government, although in that instance the anti-horde horde will usually have their day, and then it's back to bickering and business as usual. So keep the posts coming. It may not be a perversion of power in all cases, but the ineptitude and spinelessness of those in power resonates daily.

    Which brings us to point number two; "The recent Committee meeting to pick the primary party slate by reports was run in an dictatorial not democratic manner."

    By all accounts it wasn't just the 'recent' meeting, but most all meetings, and not just party meetings in Plainfield, or those chaired by Jerry Green. It's a system that merits big changes, but I get the impression (and I think history bears me out on this)that principles matter less than which foot the shoe is on.

    So I'll make a few suggestions which hopefully will open up debate and let the cream rise to the top for the good of the city.

    I'd like to see three bylaws added to the rules of the PDCC.

    First, only duly elected committee members can serve as officers.

    Second, no officer or committee member, or the committee itself, may receive campaign contributions from any vendor that has a contract with the city for one year prior to the award of the contract or during the the contract's lifetime.

    Finally, election to the city committee is a public trust. Committee members are the people's representatives at the most basic political party level, not simply occupants of a chair at an occasional meeting in a poorly lit room where you can hardly hear what's being said up front. Solicit members to serve in office, hear them out, then vote on your choice for which one gets the party-line. Enact a bylaw that requires a secret vote.

    I'll be watching the reorganization meeting in June to see if any self-styled democrats step up with a motion for any of this, or if principle is only a matter of temporary convenience.

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  3. Rob, once again thank you. I take attacks from whence they come.

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