Sunday, February 2, 2014


I am posting this Sunday afternoon for those that may have the opportunity to read it before a snowy Monday.

This is potentially one of the most loaded agenda setting sessions in years. I would only hope that all of the Councilors are familiar with the contents in their packages.

I would also hope that the amount of snow forecast for Monday will not make it dangerous for  we over the hill geezers from attending.

The first item that will take time is a discussion about the Legal Shield and should the Council authorize payroll deductions for participants in a program formerly known as Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. and acquired in 2011 by MidOcean Partners.

Legal Shield is an insurance plan for potential legal services;  similar in many ways to dental plans or closed panel health care plans with limitations as to providers. There have been questions about the scope of its coverage and selection of lawyers if needed.

It is a bad policy for the city to be the collection agency for a business and doing so is not without incurred costs. This should not rate a second thought.

Then there are the Ordinances for second reading; Of the 5 in number;  two are setting new? salary ranges for the municipal court judge and a part time /temporary municipal court judge (that range is 70k-110k). Good work if you can get it.

The two to which I have major objections  include one creating the Office of Police Administrator and including TWO deputy administrators; and also the other establishing their salary ranges.

We already have the position of Director of Police under the Department of Public Affairs and Safety. Why do we need another bureaucracy much less two more people doing that job? Are we the Federal Government? Yes, I do agree with Bill Reid that we do not need these new positions.

Moreover what happened to the recommendation by the Mayor’s Transition subcommittee that the Police Chief position be re-established? Assuming that the reasons for abolishing it were political; is that why this is being ignored and why two new civilian posts are being created? 

If the position of Police Chief were to be the day by day operation head of the division, as it should be, it will take an Ordinance with its two readings to request approval from the State to establish it. Then there would be a question if Santiago would automatically assume the position or would there have to be a new Civil Service test for potential candidates. 

There are questions on resolutions; #I; accepting a $51,187.50 Grant extension from Union County Department of Human Services  for the many Plainfield Municipal Alliance programs., What is the extension  and is for 1/1/13 to 6/30/14?

#J: Authorization to apply for a grant of $34,125.00 to the UC Dept. of Human Services , Division of Planning for the implementation  of Plainfield Municipal Alliance programs.

The time period is listed as July I, 2014 to June 30, 2019. Is the date erroneous or is there a 5year program of 60 months although there is mention of an 18 month cycle.-3 cycles would be a total of 54 months? Also is this a total that the city must match? Why are many of the programs administered by the Superintendent of Schools? Lots of question and I bet few answers.

#K; Executing a Meals on Wheels Donor agreement for the Senior Citizens Services Programs (the Center?) for 2014.

Two resolutions; one for AT&T, the other for Cross Fiber Corp for street opening permits. These two have State authorization and plan to use existing underground and above ground facilities. May need this for connections; not sure but don’t believe we can deny them.

#P: a Contract with “Community Consultants LLC, for the “provision of housing rehabilitation services for the Community Development Block Grant Year 39 (FY2013-2014)." This is for 11 houses and I believe that it is for supervisory services. Once again, should not this have been approved in 2013? Also there is no record of any competitive bidding on this $49,500.00 program.

And finally #Q authorizing the submission of the Community Development Block Grant Program Year 40 (FY 2014-2015) Funding Priorities. What does that mean; at least there is an application being submitted in time, I hope.

1 comment:

  1. Can't move in the snow today, but I can move on the blogs, so here's my agenda take:

    Item B- Membership in a municipal joint insurance fund requires utilizing a risk assessor. Once again Reliance Insurance is the choice, juiced by campaign contributions, although this year, rather than making direct contributions, Reliance's money got funneled through an East Orange joint candidates committee back into our mayoral contest in what looks to have been an attempt at getting around Plainfield's pay-to-play regulations. In any case, the city pays top dollar (6% of our assessment) because of lack of competition. Westfield pays just 2.5%, and the percent is negotiable up to the maximum.

    Item P- Another long time provider of a needed service. Suspicious because the Council packet indicates only one bid was received. The RFP was published in the Courier on a Monday, with a closing date that very Friday. Not a whole lot of time to respond, unless of course you had advance notice.

    Legal Shield- not an agenda item, but a discussion item. What is not being said is who is getting the commissions, and how the City was talked into this to begin with. Very deceptive, but deception is the name of the game. Brought to us by one of Plainfield's schemers-in-chief.
    It should be off the agenda entirely.