Thursday, January 5, 2012


Council President Mapp's acceptance speech could have ended after the second paragraph which defined admiral goals for the Council and the City in 2012. Quote: "We want, very much, to work cooperatively and collaboratively with the Mayor and her administration to improve the quality of life for all citizen, through enhancements to our public safety across all neighborhoods, proper enforcement of our property maintenance codes, and major improvements to our decaying network of roads." The bold face is mine.

For the past few years there has been a conflict between the Administration and Council created by the Mayor 's insistence on personal rule marked by the absence of critical department and division heads. This has lead to withholding critical information that members of the Council felt to be important in its conduction of its fiduciary responsibilities.

With the new and seemingly highly professional City Administrator and Director of Public Works aboard along with a qualified CFO many of the problems that resulted from reaction to what might falsely be conceived as a personal affront should be eliminated. Good government should not be hampered by personalities.

Public safety is always a concern. It is not segmented to one ward or another but impacts on the entire city. If there are deficiencies in this area perhaps a elite citizen's committee jointly formed by Administration and Council could result in positive recommendations. One that I would suggest is that Health Services be transferred from Administration and Finances to Public Safety where it properly belongs. That the position of Director of the Police Division be filled and not be a function of the Department Director. Perhaps the position of Chief of Police should be reactivated.

Without intending any negative reflection on Director Hellwig who's expertise is in police matters an expanded department would need a person with greater administrative skills as its head.

Enforcement of property codes is a must if there is to be a city revival. Once again an in depth review of the divisions strengths and weakness should be done. If more personnel is needed than attempts should be made to meet that need. If there is inefficiency in the use of available resources that should be identified and corrected.

Finally the last point on our roads and infrastructure. Plainfield is not unique in its neglect of its streets. This has been a policy of most municipalities who felt that replacement of pavement using grant monies or State subsidies was a bettered way to go. The fact that the cost always came back to the taxpayer was ignored. With proper upkeep; tarring cracks, hot patching broken surface areas, even periodic protective coating, and especially insisting that any one-contractor or utility- who opens a road properly closes it including restoration of the destroyed base the life expectancy of our streets would exceed the 20 year standard especially for those that are not main thoroughfares. The majority of funds raised by the contemplated bond issue should be used in this manner.

A city with good roads, maintained properties, and a reputation of public safety including health care will be attractive to newcomers and business.

On a different subject; the Mayor in her speech said that the City now had title to the Senior Citizens Center and the Veterans Center. That is great, but what arrangement was made with the developer to accomplish this deed ? Since the apartments have been converted into "rental with an option to purchase" the terms of the contract requiring the completion of salew of all the "condos" were never going to be met. What is the story Mr. Williamson?


  1. Bravo for a fine commentary! If Plainfield warranted it, you could be on any of the top news analysis shows with your concise overview. Lucky for us we have your blog to give perspective.

  2. Folks,it is not mutual admiration society but such a commentary from one whom I consider the consummate reporter is enough to make even an old man blush with pride. Thank you Bernice.

  3. Your commentary "hit's the nail on the head". It is with a hope that 2012 can bring our politicians/employees a new sense of pride in Plainfield. There is no need to fumble our way through things when there are concrete rules to follow.

    When everyone does the job they are assigned or volunteer for, there is no reason for this City to progress instead of regressing.