Sunday, April 06, 2008

Council Asked to Pay Relocation Money

One proposed City Council resolution for Monday’s agenda fixing session is sure to raise eyebrows among the small pool of people who try to keep tabs on council doings. It is a $12,000 stipend to reimburse “Acting Director” Douglas Peck for expenses in relocating to Plainfield. According to the resolution’s title, Peck is the new acting director of the Department of Administration, Finance, Health and Social Services.

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.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a typical City screwup. Relocation packages are normally ironed out prior to hiring. The Mayor does not need approval for the temporary appointment but she would need it to pay for the relocation costs he was promised which is a condition of employment. He will get his money no matter what process is used.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wish someone would pay me relocation money-why is this city so screwed up? nothing seems to work right.and it all comes down 2.who knows who.its time for a new mayor.!!!!!!!!!!!

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get pressure going on the admmin people! We deserve more, and are not bound by anything other than our lack of interest and apathy. WAKE UP!

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not a screwup!! This is the mode of operation for one of the most inept ethically abusive administrations the City of Plainfield has seen!!! Jerry Green and Mayor Briggs, etc. need to go.

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How can this city pay $12,000.00 to someone who would only be serving in an acting capacity? What happens if he is not confirmed? This sounds very fishy to many of us. This guy has to take his chances and move here and do the job. This $12,000.00 might just be a ruse on his part so that he can move to this area. Why would we pay someone $12,000.00 to move to Plainfield when the job may only last a year and a half? Something is up and this guy is trying to make money off our city. Let him move here on his own dime, not on ours. How come this is so far below the radar? This is fishy, and it seems like the administration made a promise to this guy. The city council should table this until it learns something about this individual. We (Plainfield residents) NEVER did learn anything about the qualifications of Ray Daniels. They were NEVER made public. DDoes the council know anything about this guy? The residents should also know something more. The mayor and Jerry's track record is long on patronage and short on competence, as we can all attest by their mishandling of just about everything in the city. The council needs to say "no" and find out more about this. $12,000.00 is a lot of money to give to someone we know nothing about. The council needs to do their duty.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that it was reported to the public that this guy is temporary, but someone in City Hall sure has plans to make him permanent. How pitiful and dishonest! This is why more residents need to be involved, question, and vote!

12:00 PM  

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