Charlotte and Power
Plainfield in the past has been rent asunder by clashes between the administration and the governing body, perhaps the Mitchell era being the most glaring example.
The Democratic power brokers here still try to use Charlotte's playbook, demanding fealty to leaders over stewardship of public resources or even common sense sometimes. Political death can be the penalty for looking at an issue objectively and offering an intelligent solution.
Another recent name in the news, Hillside Board of Education President Nagy Sileem, recalled to this writer the odd situation of Plainfield being saddled with this person as assistant director of Public Works and Urban Development when there already was an official on the books with the same title and a similar salary. Was the idea to run off the incumbent, a former director, and install the politically-connected Mr. Sileem in her place? And never mind that Sileem was also listed on state records as holding a job in another municipality at the time. Fortunately, he has since left Plainfield and we now have just one assistant director in the department.
Power for power's sake may engender admiration or fear, but not good government. Besides being the Union County Democratic Committee chairman (her favored term), Charlotte is also executive director of the Union County Improvement Authority. The UCIA built the nameless building on the Park-Madison site but did not meet all the conditions imposed by the Planning Board, such as relocating the historic Park Avenue clock to the site.
To see where absolute power (and disregard of the rules the rest of us try to live by) takes government, read "The Soprano State" after you read the Star-Ledger article.