Monday, October 08, 2007

Mentor Jerry Green

As the debate on dual office-holding rages statewide, we here in Plainfield know well that our special charter forbids such a practice. Therefore, for example, Assemblyman Jerry Green could not also be mayor of the Queen City.

But as we also know well, Green has created a unique role for himself in Plainfield. He is the mentor of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

Mentor Jerry Green has a say on lots of decisions, large and small, that are made in City Hall. Many of the staff members that came on in January 2006 had formerly served up the street on Watchung Avenue as legislative aides to Assemblyman Green and now presumably serve Mentor Jerry Green.

Mentor Jerry Green was at the side of Mayor Robinson-Briggs almost every time she visited the Senior Center in 2006 and took his own turn at the microphone to speak on city affairs. Mentor Jerry Green, we hear, sits in on many City Hall meetings on redevelopment and other topics. Newspaper reporters were much more likely to quote Mentor Jerry Green than Mayor Robinson-Briggs in the first year of her administration.

Part of Mentor Jerry Green’s prominence has come about by the mayor’s reluctance to return phone calls for official comment. By default, Mentor Jerry Green ends up speaking for the city.

According to the state web site, District 22 includes the following municipalities: Clark Township, Dunellen Borough, Fanwood Borough, Green Brook Township, Linden City, Middlesex Borough, North Plainfield Borough, Plainfield City, Rahway City, Scotch Plains Township, Winfield Township. Maybe it is a compliment that Mentor Jerry Green has chosen to apply his knowledge and expertise on municipal government to such a degree here in Plainfield. Or maybe it is a way to get around that pesky charter.

Assemblyman Jerry Green has gone to great lengths recently to assert he has no conflicts of interest and has been quoted on his wish to “eliminate any gray areas.” Mentor Jerry Green may want to make sure his unique role does not fall into that category.

--Bernice Paglia


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