Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Blanco Shoots Down Nominees

City Council President Ray Blanco used his rights Wednesday (July 19, 2006) to withdraw a set of last-minute appointments by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

The mayor had proposed names Monday (July 17, 2006) for the Citizens Advisory Committee, the Human Relations Commission, the Plainfield Youth Commission, the Green Brook Flood Control Commission and the Plainfield Cable Advisory Committee, but the nominations were supposed to have been made by the prior Monday for council consideration.

Blanco arrived to the Wednesday meeting late, due to attending an event at Gracie Mansion in New York City, and so did not hear Robinson-Briggs’ addition of two more nominations that night.

Councilmen Cory Storch and Rashid Burney questioned those nominations and the administration ended up withdrawing one for the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Another, for the Cultural & Heritage Commission, was supposed to be on the agenda, but was not on the printed agenda.

Blanco blasted the process, saying, “This council will not be made fools of again by anyone.“

Addressing City Administrator Carlton McGee, Blanco said, “You are under orders to get this administration in order.“

Blanco said he had tried “everything in my power” to make the administration look good, but he said, “I will not be made a fool of again.“

Blanco said the current council is the best in many years , with the “moral and political fortitude to withstand everything.“

But he said, “We have a deadline - we have rules.“

McGee responded, “We hear you loud and clear.“

He said there was no disrespect intended.

But Storch also called for withdrawal of another resolution that would have named an appointee to the Plainfield Housing Authority.

In the end, no appointments were approved.

Robinson-Briggs responded to the comments by saying, “Your words were heard, but I think they were a little harsh.“

In public comments, residents Murray Roberts and Dottie Gutenkauf agreed that for the land use boards such as Planning and Zoning, it is most important that candidates be qualified, even to the extent of having background in land use law, planning, architecture or related fields.

Joan Hervey, who was nominated to the Human Relations Commission, said the Civic Responsibility Act of 2005 was supposed to have established the process for appointments.

However, although a process was set up for applications, the other part of the ordinance, a listing of all board and commission terms and the obligations for each, was never established.

According to a Plaintalker list of boards and commissions in 2005, most were never filled. Several new boards and commissions established since then are also lacking in members.

SEE: Boards and Commissions: A bustle of inactivity (August 24, 2005)

--Bernice Paglia


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