Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Why should Plainfield be different from DC?

As anticipated the AFS meeting of the Council was a “nonevent” with no questioning why contracts are awarded without competitive bidding. The answer that “the vendors are from a list that the Council approved in January” skirts the question of is the City getting the best price that could be obtained from a request listing the required criteria.

One must assume that administration and council are only interested in share the wealth. The fact that this year a resolution was passed that eliminated the stricter “pay to play” restrictions. Except for Tolliver and in one instance Rivers there was no questioning on any of the resolutions.

Equally interesting was the foul call dominated championship basketball game. Was a record set? But, who really cares.

In DC Congress is playing personal agenda party politics to the hilt regardless of the country’s best interests before taking its upcoming Easter break.

Oh well Wednesday is supposed to be a warm sunny spring day for all to enjoy.


  1. It is true the City Council approved five firms to provide engineering services in January, but it is also likely that specific contracts are handed out to favorite firms without benefit of a competitive process. The possibility of reducing costs is thereby forfeited. More curious was the award of a contract for professional planning consulting services to Nishuane Group at the March meeting, in the amount of $60,000. Nishuane is on no approved vendor list. According to the resolution, competitive negotiation was deemed "impraticable". Suffice it to say, both Nishuane and city engineer Pennoni Associates come to Plainfield via Orange, NJ, where our mayor serves as Director of Finance, and whose mayor, Dwayne Warren is our chief municipal prosecutor. According to a news report in the Essex News Daily on January 19th, several individuals associated with these two firms were, among others, subjects of an FBI warrant that closed Orange City Hall on January 11th.

    1. Alan - per usual you start with an honest question and then devolve into strangeness. This is like saying "there was a shooting in Plainfield yesterday morning and Alan Goldstein lives in Plainfield - so you do the math". With respect to Nishuane group, they do a lot of studies for areas in need or redevelopment etc. And it very well could be impracticable given that they have already done other parts of a study or plan and are the most logical source to complete a later phase. The assumption that everything makes sense to bid is silly - especially when some vendors may have provided previously negotiated rate cards as part of an RFP. That is quite standard in effective procurement practices.

    2. It was impracticable this year and it was impracticable last year, and as about impracticable as Nishuane's proposal to replace the Planning Division for the measly sum of $106,000 in 2015. The bottom line is the city doesn't do its fair share to reduce costs with its professional service providers. Nishuane was impracticable from day one, before it did any work here.

  2. Why do we have so little faith that our government will do the best for our interests as taxpayers?
    When will we get answers to the questions that are asked, and answers that are clear and transparent?

    1. It is possible that rampant cynicism will mean that no matter the answer given it won't be believed. David Minchello answered the question(s). Now if someone hates attorneys no matter what they are saying then they will hate his answer. Or if someone approaches every issue in attack mode (i.e. Diane Toliver) then they are saying "no matter what you say I will not agree with your answer to my question". Although she likely doesn't understand the answers any way so she may be a bad example here.

      Having years of procurement experience I can say that the city does a good job. Is it perfect? No - but I haven't seen many that are - even in the private sector. Is procurement better now that it has been in the past? Without a doubt it is. Ron West isn't a game player and he knows the importance of every dollar that comes in and goes out of the city. And FYI - the lowest bidder is not always the best choice - many times it is but not always - there are many elements that go into reviewing bids and prices (through RFP, Rate Card or other procurement methods).

      I would recommend that people ask questions that are less "gotcha". Ask things like "how was this project bid and how is the savings tracked this way?" or "if this project wasn't bid out was a pre-negotiated rate card or other pricing mechanism utilized through a co-op program with the county, state etc?". Ask questions to learn and understand - don't ask questions to then just parse the words to fit a certain pre-determined narrative. That is pointless and a waste of time.

      For example - Alan Goldstein is smart guy, not always the smartest guy in the room or the one with all the facts - though sometimes he is. That doesn't make every opinion or assessment of his correct - so if an answer comes back that proves his theory or thinking to be incorrect - it doesn't make the answer wrong just because he has, or wants, to be right.

    2. A most thoughtful comment, wish you were not anonymous.