Council Asked to Pay Relocation Money
Among the questions this proposed resolution raises:
Who is Douglas Peck?
From where is he relocating?
How did he find Plainfield or vice versa?
Why would the city pay a guy $12,000 to relocate for a 90-day acting appointment that does not seem to be backed up by any official announcement from the mayor?
Thank heavens for Google. In my youth, the only Google I knew was Barney Google (with the goo-goo-googly eyes). But today I can Google and find out that Douglas Peck is the principal of a Cleveland, Ohio company called DPMG Associates that numbers the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority among its clients. The firm takes credit for the “successful implementation” of the shift from side yard to curbside collection for 16,000 households and also for running a two-day retreat for PMUA board and management on “mission and vision development” as well as how “productivity innovations” could be used to improve operations.
An e-mail from Plaintalker seeking comment from Douglas Peck bounced back from the DPMG web site, so further information may have to wait until this week’s council meetings. The agenda session is 7:30 p.m. Monday (April7, 2008) in City Hall Library, 515 Watching Ave., and the regular meeting is Wednesday (April 9, 2008) in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.
The Department of Administration and Finance is one of three mandated by the city’s special charter. The other two are Public Works, and Public Affairs and Safety. When former Mayor Mark Fury took office, he rearranged divisions within departments and added Health and Social Services to Administration and Finance, and gave the post to Steve Holmes, whose background was in social services. Holmes was later shifted to other duties, but the department was never restored to its original mission.
Since the current administration took office, the Department of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services has seen several transitions. In January 2006, former City Administrator Norton Bonaparte was named to the post. He left in March 2006 to become the first city manager of Topeka, Kan., and the new administration’s City Administrator Carlton McGee added the department’s responsibilities informally until A. Raiford Daniels became department head in December 2007. No credentials were ever made public for Daniels and he left the job within a year. Since then, City Administrator Marc Dashield has also been acting head of the department, but the 90-day acting limit has elapsed.
The mayor has the power to make 90-day acting appointments, but then must seek advice and consent of the City Council for the appointees. In the case of department heads, if confirmed, they serve concurrently with the term of the mayor, in this case ending Dec. 31, 2009.
Why should we care about all this? These department heads have tremendous power over what happens in the city. They must be well-qualified and capable if the city is to move forward. They must understand Plainfield and know the citizens’ concerns, not just be guided by the wishes of a political in-crowd.
Pay close attention, as speakers urge on some Plainfielders’ favorite radio station, WBAI. The city cannot afford to give in to possible political agendas.