Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Disregard Calendar Notice

A legal notice regarding the City Council's meeting schedule appeared yesterday in the Courier News, but it was all mixed up. Dates were in wrong columns, rendering the schedule useless.

I made up a small chart of the upcoming Mondays-only schedule and will be handing it out at council meetings to anyone interested. If I can figure out how to post it, I will do so.

So far, comments on Plaintalker indicate that reasons to stay away from council meetings include both conflicts with work schedules and the perception that the council doesn't care what citizens have to say. Let me say that each resident has three council representatives, the citywide at-large council member, the at-large ward representative and the person who was elected to serve your ward. Council President Harold Gibson is the citywide at-large official. I live in the Second Ward, so I also have Rashid Burney as the 2nd & 3rd Ward at-large representative and Cory Storch as the 2nd Ward councilman. Do you know all three elected people that you can ask for help with city issues?

In my case, both Storch and Burney have blogs on city topics and Burney also posts lots of documents on his web site. I have found this to be very helpful.

There will be one more set of Monday-Wednesday council meetings, on April 7 and 9. The agenda fixing session is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library on April 7 and the regular meeting will be 8 p.m. in Municipal Court on April 9. Come take a look at those elected to serve you. Would you know them if you met them on the street?

Over the years, I have seen all levels of constituency service. In my mind, the standard was set by former Councilman Frank Meeks III, who always listened and took concerns to the appropriate authorities to get results. If all council members were like him, our city would be much more livable and enjoyable. Frank Meeks III understood the concept of stewardship and public service. He read his council packet well in advance of the meetings, in contrast to some who could be seen opening it at the meeting. He asked probing questions of the administration, but was always a gentleman in dealings with colleagues, the public and the administration.

There will be 15 more opportunities to go to council meetings in 2008. Can you manage to get to one? It could be a very eye-opening experience.

--Bernice Paglia

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice,
Frank Meeks did set the standard as to public demeanor as a responsible, elected official. It is interesting that not so long ago elected officials received nominal compensation for their civic time. Now they get paid handsomely and that includes perks such as medical benefits - and yes they longer they serve, the larger their NJ State retirement package becomes. This is the leverage that Assemblyman Jerry Green holds over Mayor Briggs, who never had it so good, and councilpeople. Last thought, there are numerous boards, auch as the Board Of Adjustment and Planning Board, as well as civic organizations where citizens serve because of civic pride not for financial enrichment. Oh well, with Dan Damon running for mayor, maybe this will all change. I know if Frank Meeks was Mayor today, Plainfield would not be in the muddle it finds itself.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you come, you must stay till the public comments are aired at the end. That truly gets to the heart of what is going on in Plainfield. {and beats any soap opera on TV}

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but there is no soap opera on Channel 13.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am new to the city. Is the Agenda Fixing Session also open to the public?

7:02 PM  
Blogger The Editors said...

Yes, both agenda fixing sessions and regular meetings are open to the public.

8:25 PM  

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