Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dashield Is New City Administrator

A nominee for city administrator won unanimous approval at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

Marc Dashield, currently the chief financial officer in Franklin Township, Somerset County was approved for the top city job “effective immediately,” but neither he nor Mayor Sharon Robinson–Briggs, who sought council advice and consent to the appointment, were present.

Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson said he understands that Dashield needs four to six weeks to finish up business in Franklin Township and at any rate will not be on board before the New Year.

The request for immediate advice and consent breaks a pattern of mayoral acting appointments for cabinet members, seeking advice and consent only after the 90-day acting limit runs out.

Most recently, Robinson-Briggs appointed A. Raiford Daniels as acting director of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services, the largest of three departments mandated by the city’s special charter. On Monday, the agenda called for a vote on making Daniels permanent by council advice and consent, but the vote was put off because Daniels had suffered a death in the family and was out this week.

Dashield succeeds Carlton McGee, who was named acting city administrator Jan. 1, when Robinson-Briggs took office. He was confirmed when his acting designation ran out.

But McGee left on short notice at the end of October to become chief financial officer for the Atlanta school district. Because he was also in charge of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services, his departure left two of the top four administrative posts four posts vacant.

By way of contrast, Dashield will be coming from a township with about the same number of residents as Plainfield, but spread out over more than 46 square miles instead of six square miles.

Franklin residents are wealthier and enjoy a much lower crime rate than Plainfield, according to statistics on, based on the 2000 census.

The community make-up in Plainfield in 2000 was more than 60 percent black, with Latinos at more than 25 percent and whites at about 21 percent.

Franklin’s demographics in the 2000 census showed a mostly white population, at 55 percent, with about 26 percent blacks and only 8 percent Latinos.

As newcomers. Dashield’s and Daniels’ success will largely depend on how they come across to Plainfielders, a discerning and picky lot when it comes to leadership.

--Bernice Paglia


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