Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rumors Need Confirmation

If there is a new acting director of Administration & Finance, it’s news to top officials.

A blog rumor that the nominee is A. Raiford Daniels sent Plaintalker scurrying for more information, but there wasn’t any.

Plaintalker asked whether Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs had informed the City Council by letter of the acting appointment and the answer was “no.”

City Council President Rayland Van Blake said he had no knowledge of any such appointment.

“There certainly has not been any official announcement made to myself or any of the council,” Van Blake said.

Mayoral mentor Jerry Green also drew a blank on the nominee, but later confirmed that the proposed individual who also goes by the name of Ray Daniels is the state NAACP’s political action chair. Green said the post is an unpaid volunteer job.

The mayor’s husband, Peter Briggs, is on the executive board of the NJ NAACP. The group held a conference Sept. 22 on increasing the number of voters who go to the polls, dubbed the “Arrive with Five” campaign urging voters to bring five friends to polling places. Daniels was in charge of the effort.

The alleged nominee’s qualifications are not known.

If in fact the new director took over this week as reported by some, there is still the question of who will serve as city administrator since Carlton McGee departed Monday after serving since Jan. 1.

The city administrator is in charge of day-to-day operations of the city and must meet charter qualifications.

4.2 City administrator; qualifications.
The city administrator shall be chosen solely on the basis of his training, experience, and administrative and executive qualifications. Prior to his appointment, he shall have completed and received a master's degree in public or business administration and shall have had at least 2 years of actual executive experience in municipal administration or an equivalent combination of education and experience. At the time of his appointment, he need not be a resident of the city or of the State.

The city administrator is the boss of three department heads who monitor all city divisions.

Green said he is seeking a qualified interim city administrator with help from county officials.

The lack of a city administrator and director of Administration & Finance leaves the city down to half its top cabinet positions.

The City Council does not meet again until Nov. 20 for an agenda session due to an election hiatus.

Under a rule imposed several years ago, individuals may only hold acting posts for 90 days before being required to have City Council advice and consent to their tenure.

Residents will have to sort out all the exigencies in order to know what they are dealing with.

--Bernice Paglia


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