I have contended that we could make at least three much needed changes in the city’s Charter relating to its organizational structure without resorting to a time and expense consuming two years series of Referendum and a Commission.
Therefore in late June in the hopes of convincing the Council that it would be possible I sent this letter to (a) Jeffery Chiesa, the Attorney General, (b)Thomas Neff, the Director of Local Government Services and (c) Richard Constable III, the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.
You may be aware that Plainfield has a Special Charter issued in 1969 probably under the Adams Act of 1920. It should therefore be exempt from the provisions of the Faulkner Act of 1950 and as revised in 198.
However following Faulkner Act protocol the Council on July 16 passed an Ordinance calling for a Referendum on the November ballot asking if there should be a Committee formed for a Charter Revision Study. As required by the Faulkner Act there also will be election of five individuals at that time to serve on the study committee if it is so voted.
It is my opinion that with the exception of the following three items Plainfield’s Charter is satisfactory and the necessary changes could be by Ordinance negating the study procedure.
The first change needed is the provision for the Council to have its own legal support. At present the Corporation Counsel is appointed by the Mayor with Council consent and approval. He is to serve both Administration and Council; impossibility when where is a conflict.
The second change is in the makeup of the three Departments. In Mayor Fury’s term (2002) there was a shifting of divisions by Ordinance. Cannot such realignment be done now by the same methodology? Could the number of Departments be altered by Ordinance alone or would that require a Charter change?
Finally, the Municipal Clerk is appointed by the Mayor through the designated appointment process (advice and consent). He serves as Secretary of the Council and under the Faulkner Act in a similar Mayor/Council type government the Council can have the right to select the Clerk. Can such a change be made by Ordinance?
I would be most grateful if you could reply in the coming two weeks to my three questions relating to changing Plainfield’s Charter.
Once again I thank you for your consideration.
On August 8 the Attorney General’s office sent the following:(the letters can be enlarged by clicking on them)
On Sept 5 The Director of Community Affairs wrote.
As of this date I have not heard from Commissioner Constable’s office.
It is obvious under our system of “Government of the People, by the People, for the People” there is no place for a citizen. No one in officialdom is willing to render an opinion but can find a way to “legally” avoid such action.
Note that if you have trouble enlarging the letters; the Attorney General's says "The Attorney General is authorized to offer legal advice only to mdepartments,agencies,and instrumentalities of State government, ------is not empowered to render legal advice to---private citizens or organizations.--"'DOLGS's letter notes that "State Executive Order #6, enacted by Governor Florio on 3/14/90 prevents the Department and any other state agency save for the Attorney General's Office from rendering a legaal opinion.