Friday, January 16, 2009

Council Approves Car Use, Appointments

In unfinished business from the Jan. 1 reorganization, the City Council authorized 24-hour use of city-owned cars for three officials and approved appointments to several boards and commissions.

The car issue was delayed as council members questioned the need for the city to provide 24-hour vehicles, as well as the cost of the perk. On Jan. 1, only the mayor and fire chief received approval to use city cars around the clock. At Thursday's meeting, Public Works Superintendent John Louise won approval to have a 24-hour vehicle throughout 2009, but the council gave only limited use through February for cars for City Administrator Marc Dashield and Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig while discussion of the issue continues.

In a series of votes Jan. 1, the council first tabled numerous appointments to boards and commissions, then agreed to reappoint some incumbents while holding up new appointments pending interviews.

On Thursday, all the nominees from Jan. 1 were approved.

They are Ronald Patillo for a one-year alternate term on the Shade Tree Commission; Annie B. Hatchel to Jan. 1 2010 on the Beautification Committee; Indira Bailey and Victoria Griswold, three-year terms succeeding themselves on the Cultural and Heritage Commission; Sidney Jackson, alternate, two years on the Planning Board.

Also, for the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Christopher Awobue and Alejandro Ruiz received four-year terms and Robert K. Graham received a two-year term. For the Historic Preservation Commission, William Garrett, Reginald L. Thomas and David A. Westlake were approved for four-year terms and Jan Jasper and Erin Finnerty received two-year terms.

Assignments to the Plainfield Cable Television Advisory Board were not on the agenda Thursday.

Council President Rashid Burney is pushing for full implementation in 2009 of the Civic Responsibility Act of 2005, which calls for publication of all vacancies on boards and commission, along with the terms, duties, meeting dates and other details so that interested citizens can apply. There is currently a downloadable application form on the city's web site, but full information about the opportunities was to have been posted online within one year of the law's passage.

--Bernice Paglia


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