Thursday, January 31, 2013


More about the Charter is on tap but will have to wait at least to Friday. Your suggestions will be appreciated by me and I am sure that the Charter Commission reads all the b logs for comments.

Understand that my Department/Division lineup is only a suggestion. There may be needed realignment and even contraction of the number of divisions into super divisions especially where a division has less than; let us say, three employees. Alan Goldstein’s suggestion on Departments/Divisions is worthy of consideration dependent on the function of the various divisions.

There are other foci of interest for the next few days; including the Council Agenda session, as well as external events.

With that in mind I was disturbed by Assemblyman and Chairman of the Plainfield Democrat Committee Green’s Tuesday’s blog dedicated to a bill he had sponsored which the Assembly approved Monday.

On the surface it seems to be in Plainfield’s interest since its purpose is stated “to help transform ailing or obsolete health care facilities into productive health care centers once again.”

It purpose is to ease the way for “commercial based health facilities to locate in a closed hospital. It is designed to block any replacement hospital occupying the site of a closed facility.

Read it carefully and one will note the key provisions are counter-productive to Plainfield’s need for an acute care facility. In fact it would close the door forever.  
From Greens blog :The bill (A-3043) would grant corporation business tax credits to developers who make certain capital investments for repurposing qualified health care facilities”***“The bill restricts the function of a repurposed facility to a non-acute health care and health support services center, and requires a credit applicant to demonstrate that such an investment will not destabilize the supply and delivery of acute health care services in its market”.

Interpretation :A developer or for profit health facility entrepreneur will get subsidy to establish a long term or chronic care facility which is a glorified nursing home to render in house care at rates lower that of an acute care hospital. There will be no surgery available unless a same day surgical facility is licensed. There can also be doctors and other health care “providers” , offices in the premises plus a walk in and urgent care center in lieu of an ER with access to critical in hospital care.

Why does my gut tell me that this must be aimed at Plainfield so that there will never be any possibility of a renewed hospital at Muhlenberg. There will be tax breaks for a commercial operation to place a convalescent and rehabilitation facility and/or chronic care in the Muhlenberg shell.This bill contains a legal obstruction to reopen a hospital in Plainfield.

This bill will benefit JFK (Solaris) by forever eliminating the possibility of any acute care hospital being reestablished at Muhlenberg. A 50,000 population community with at least another 30,000 in the immediate area doesn’t need another nursing home;it needs an acute care hospital.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The previous post Clerk and Lawyers was very pedantic because various sections of State regulations (laws) and our charter not only seemed to be the basis for our present determination of appointment but also how we can alter the process.

Today the focus is on the departments; not only their present structure but a solution that could make them more efficient. By charter there are 3 departments although the “City Site” lists 4 including the Corporation Counsel. 

All report to the City Administrator a position that for long periods of time has gone  unfilled.

The size of these Departments varies from one of 3 Divisions (one recently added) to 8 divisions one of which has 8 subdivisions. The larger Departments all contain a mishmash of divisions, many of whom have no obvious relationship with each other.

Administration & Finance   contains (1) Division of Tax Assessments, (2) Tax Collector, (3) Audit & Control, (4) Purchasing, (5) Municipal Court, (6) Information Technology/media, and (7) Health & Social Services.

The  later has subdivisions:1-WIC program,2-Vital Statistics,3-Bilingual day care center, 4-Animal Control, 5-Communicable Diseases, 6-Personnel Division,7-Plainfield Action Services , and 8-Senior Citizen’s Services Center.
It is obvious that within this last Division there are subdivisions that do not have any conceivable relationship with each other. This is similar to the divisions themselves: such as Audit and Control with Municipal Court?
Likewise Public Works and Urban Development is as diversified as the CityYard, Inspections, Public Works (Streets/Trees etc), Engineering, Building, , Recreation, Economic Development- which is elated to, Planning, and something called Community Development which administers a multimillion dollar Community Block Grant program, emergency repair funds for seniors, and temporary housing. This division has nothing to do with the City Yard or Planning.

Public Affairs and Safety recently added Emergency Management to its two Divisions; Police and Fire.

The FAULKNER Act being used as a guide originally designated a limit of 3 Departments but added the option of up to 7 when the charter would be granted. I propose 5 that I believe are logical.
1)   Administration
a            Municipal Court
                 Senior Citizens Center
e                 PCTV
f                  Recreation
              Plainfield Action Services
                 Vital Statistics
i                  Social Services
i)     WIC
ii)   Bilingual Program
2)   Finance
            Tax Assessments
            Tax Collector
c           Purchasing
            Audit and Control
3)   Public Affairs and Safety
      Fire Department
          Police Department (should be headed by a Chief not broken up into  
        6 or so Bureaus reporting to a civilian Department head.) 
                       Emergency Management
d        Health (This is a Public Safety problem)
i)     Communicable Disease
ii)   ??
e         Animal Control
4)   Public Works
a         Inspections
            Public Works: Trees etc.
c          Buildings
d          Engineering
5)   Urban Development
            Economic Development
            Community Development –although this seems to me to belong to               Administration

These are just one man’s suggestions but I believe that the present plan has resulted in Department heads that have little knowledge of their Divisions. Department heads at these above levels should not command as high salaries and we should be rewarded with greater efficiency.