Thank goodness I did not have to take off my shoes; I had not brought a shoehorn.
Was it Director of Public Safety, Hellwig, or the Administration or the Council that decided that extra precautions from violence were needed for the Council meeting? The Ozonian character actors however were exempt from such search. Since they enter through the “Stage Door” at the front of the Court room.
It was the citizens in attendance that were the model of decorum. Even the Mayor was subdued and for only a few incidents; out of character. The same cannot be said about several Councilors.
After the routine opening portions of last night’s meeting and a passing on second reading of an Ordinance that established a new agreement with eh City’s Public Works employees; the public session for comments on Resolutions etc. for voting was opened. For the next 90+ minutes the Councils affairs were focused on four resolutions relating to the PMUA.
Fortunately for readers; factual reports on this segment of the meeting have been posted early today, and I will not reduplicate any verbatim discussion.
The first speaker; PMUA attorney Leslie London read a letter that she had sent to the Council noting that the PMUA had not received a copy of the Task force’s report prior to the March 19 meeting so its Commissioners felt that it would have been ill advisable to respond at that time. She mentioned that it was only recently that they had a copy of the report. The Council president noted that the Council itself had not received the report until the meeting.
London then enumerated various options that were being followed to reduce PMUA costs again noting attempts to market PMUA services to municipalities in the western part of the county as well as some adjacent towns.
She was then followed by various proponents of the PMUA, mostly employees and those residents who felt that the PMUA at its executive level had abused the public trust.
Most of those favoring the resolutions also condemned the Commissioners for their ignoring the excesses of the administrators. No one was critical of the first line services of the PMUA workers; in fact all praised them.
The one persistent argument offered by the PMUA defenders was that its dissolvement would cost the jobs of Plainfielders. Mapp and Storch repeated that one of the factors that had to be in place before the State would permit dissolution was a plan for employment of the workers. That any job loss would probably be in the top heavy administrative sector
Once again by Commissioner Dunn and also repeatedly by Councilor Reid was the specter that the cost of dissolution would be so great that it would be a great burden on the taxpayers and was not worth the effort.
Councilor Reid again entered the so called costs of the WBLS investigation and the ongoing Mayor’s lawsuit as an argument of why the Council should not proceed. Storch did remark that Reid’s numbers were only his (Reid’s) speculations and nowhere near facts.
It was pointed out and acknowledged by Dunn that he was one of the two who “negotiated” the million dollar “gift”. It was also pointed out that Councilor Reid had served 7 years I believe as a PMUA Commissioner before being elected to the Council. No mention was made of Councilor River's possible conflict of interest regarding the PMUA.
As expected; every vote on the PMUA issue was passed by a 4:3 vote; even those that had no more value than a non binding request.
I have edited and corrected typos missed at 1:50 pm. 10:30 am 4/11; I just noticed the spell checkers substitution of THROW for Through.
More to follow tomorrow