Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Last Cars Approved

Screen shot of a Google map.

The dispute over 24-hour use of city-owned cars is over, at least for this year.

On Monday, the City Council approved assignment of cars to City Administrator Marc Dashield and Police Director/Director of Public Affairs & Safety Martin Hellwig for the balance of 2009. Councilman Adrian Mapp voted "no" on both resolutions and Councilman Cory Storch voted "no" on car use for Hellwig.

The issue arose at the Jan. 1 reorganization meeting, where cars for the mayor and fire chief were approved for the year, but three others were limited to January while the council probed costs of providing the cars.

On Jan. 15, the council approved car use for Public Works Superintendent John Louise, but merely extended through February the other two approvals.

In 2006, the council waived a residency requirement for Hellwig, who presently lives 40 miles from the city. Dashield received a waiver when he took his post in January 2007. Normally, cabinet members are expected to move to Plainfield after taking office. The controversy over car use emerged only after Mapp and Councilwoman Annie McWilliams took office on Jan. 1.

Hellwig is the only cabinet member who has had tenure since January 2006. He attends virtually all council meetings, city events and numerous other meetings every week. Although as civilian director he does not have the powers of a police chief, he is on call 24/7 to direct police activities. Dashield is in charge of day-to-day city operations and also attends many night and weekend meetings and events.

The terms of all cabinet members are concurrent with that of the mayor, whose term expires Dec. 31.

Council members now want mileage reports and other documentation of car costs, as well as other aspects of cabinet members' compensation. In a discussion Jan. 12, Dashield told the council that he and Hellwig each receive lesser salaries than top fire officials. (Plaintalker has made an Open Public Records Act request for the current salaries of top officials.)

With all the requested information in hand, the council will then be able to adjust the car use policy for 2010, if necessary.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...Let's see four postions on call 24-hours per day.

Two cars for civil service positions - Fire chief and Public Works Superintendent: OK.

Two cars for Mayoral appointments: NOT OK.

Hmmmm.....Do I smell politics?
welcome to Plainfield. Is this Change? Or more of the same? Maybe Dan Damon can exlain this one?

10:12 AM  

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