Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Council Proposes Meetings Shifts


Plaintalker’s ability to report on city doings is in jeopardy.

First the school board destroys my ability to walk to meetings and now the City Council follows suit! OK, y’all, you may be on your own to get to meetings or else you have to follow the Channel 74 viewing schedule.

Plaintalker was once able to walk to Plainfield High School for Board of Education work-and-study and business meetings, before the 2008-09 schedule called for all BOE meetings to take place at 1200 Myrtle Avenue, quite a trek from Park & Seventh for this septuagenarian. Taxis cost money and this writer does not get paid to blog. My few taxi experiences, coupled with the pace of the meetings, put me off of trying to do anything more than previews of meetings to entice people to attend.

Now the City Council plans meetings at four schools across Plainfield, all testing the walkability factor that this writer so frequently vaunts. Some may recall that I gave up driving a while ago, both in the interest of voluntary simplicity and in the face of involuntary simplicity due to the cost of owning and maintaining a car.

The City Council now proposes just one agenda fixing session and one regular meeting per month, along with four special conference meetings on topics of importance to the community. The conference topics are the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority on Feb. 23, Public Safety on April 8, Information Technology on July 27 and Economic Growth on Oct. 5.

However, a quick perusal of the annual calendar proposed tonight uncovered more than a few glitches. In June, the agenda-fixing session will occur on the eve of the June primary, which in Plainfield tends to augur the outcome of the November general election. And the next Monday, slated for a regular meeting, coincides with the Democratic Party reorganization at which a chairman is chosen for the next two years.

The Economic Growth conference meeting on Oct. 5 at Hubbard Middle School coincides with the council’s agenda fixing session for the month at City Hall Library.

Plaintalker previously made up a chart of meetings based on the original schedule approved on Jan. 1. The new schedule is to be published on Jan. 29 in the newspapers. Technically, the ordinance amending the council schedule must pass on two readings, which puts in doubt the Feb. 9 meeting under the new schedule. Correction: The Feb. 9 meeting is good under the schedule approved Jan. 1. According to my calculations, if the ordinance passes on Feb. 2, second reading and final passage can take place Feb. 17. Then 29 days must elapse, putting the start of the once-a-month plan in April.

The proposed changes need to be vetted for anomalies such as those described above, and only then should they be approved by the council. As the saying goes, haste makes waste.

--Bernice Paglia


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