Friday, December 02, 2005


Contrary to a press release issued by Public Information Officer Dan Damon, incumbent Mayor Albert McWilliams and Mayor-Elect Sharon Robinson-Briggs will not jointly light the city's holiday tree tonight (Dec. 2, 2005).

McWilliams said he was not consulted on the program, which was arranged through the Recreation Division. He had a prior commitment to attend a football game at Giants Stadium, where his son was playing for St. Peter's Prep. After learning he was expected to be present at the tree lighting, McWilliams said, he considered changing his plans but finally decided to let Robinson-Briggs enjoy the limelight.

"It's probably a good opportunity for her to have her first official duty," McWilliams said. "I'm happy to let her handle it alone."

Recreation Director Dave Wynn was on vacation Friday and could not be reached tfor comment.

Damon recently began a blog called Plainfield Today where he publishes city press releases under "PIO," short for public information officer. Damon said Friday several city staffers assumed the mayor had been consulted about the program and had confirmed his availability.

McWilliams lost a bitter June primary to Robinson-Briggs by a 6 percent margin. He later mounted a write-in campaign after losing a bid to run as a Republican in the general election. Robinson-Briggs won with 49 percent of the vote and the write-in effort garnered 26 percent. Robinson-Briggs will begin her four-year term Jan. 1, 2006.

McWilliams said of the traditional holiday kick-off, "It's a good opportunity for her to just step out."

--Bernice Paglia

KEYWORDS: holiday