Sunday, January 11, 2009

Council to Revisit Many Issues

It will be déjà vu all over again Monday for appointments, vehicle use, the Mayor McWilliams memorial, Ray Blanco’s rules and the Civic Responsibility Act.

The City Council agenda is packed with items from the Jan. 1 reorganization, as well as others going back several years. The meeting is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library. Items approved for a vote will be acted on at a regular meeting 8 p.m. Thursday in Municipal Court.

Numerous appointments were tabled at the reorganization because new council members said they had not been able to interview the nominees. But then the council relented and approved nominees who were being reappointed to the Planning and Zoning boards and to the Historic Preservation Commission. However, resolutions for the reappointments are on Monday’s agenda along with resolutions for new nominees.

On Jan. 1, the council approved the use of city-owned vehicles for the mayor and fire chief in 2009, but only gave permission through January for the city administrator, superintendent of Public Works and the Public Safety director. Those three items will be up for discussion at the request of Councilman Adrian Mapp. The issue raised Jan. 1 was that cost savings might be realized if officials used their own vehicles to get to work and then drove city-owned cars, instead of having 24-hour usage.

The plan to honor the late Mayor Albert T. McWilliams came up in March 2008, when friends and family wanted to name a downtown plaza for him, with an unspecified but privately-funded memorial to be placed there. The group hoped to receive permission in time to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the mayor’s death, but then-Council President Harold Gibson pulled the resolution from the agenda. In the June primary, Annie McWilliams, daughter of the late mayor, beat Gibson for the citywide at-large council seat. Elected in November for a four-year term, Annie McWilliams was sworn in Jan. 1.

The late Councilman Ray Blanco won approval in 2006, when he was council president, for a 28-page document setting forth rules of order for the governing body. The council approved the Rules of Order Jan. 1, but will now discuss them. Several of the rules were pertinent only to that year and some are obsolete, including the Monday-Wednesday council meeting schedule that has since reverted to meetings on Mondays only, except for holidays or special meetings.

The Civic Responsibility Act passed in early 2005 but was never fully implemented. It called for an accounting of all vacancies on boards and commissions, with details on the type of credentials and commitment needed for each one. The goal was to increase civic involvement by making such opportunities widely known, with postings on the city web site. The effort got as far as having a downloadable application form on the web site, but the details have never been posted.

Monday’s meeting will also include an update from City Administrator Marc Dashield on the FY 2009 budget process. Although the council aimed for budget passage by December, various factors including the sudden firing of Finance Director Douglas Peck have delayed it.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous GB said...

Is the issue 24 hour use of a car with approval to take it to the movies, Florida [look up the History of the Fire Chief] or to have a vehicle to rush back to the City for important City business, without the excuse that their teenager has the family car ??

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If our Public Safety director lived in Plainfield, he wouldn't need a city car..
why doesn't he live in Plainfield?

Even our administration members don't want to live here..says a lot, doesn't it?

11:13 AM  

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