Friday, April 03, 2009

Commentary on City Economy

Every day the news media tell of layoffs, furloughs, wage freezes and even closings due to economic conditions. Yet so far in Plainfield we have heard of only one proposed layoff for a possible savings of $10,000 or less.

As the council reluctantly agreed Tuesday to a pension deferral plan to offset a $3.2 million budget shortfall, resident Frank D'Aversa asked City Administrator Marc Dashield whether he had met with unions regarding givebacks. Dashield replied that he had held four meetings with union members so far and noted that almost all the city's union contracts would be up at the end of the year.

"It actually gives us a great opportunity to do a lot of things," he said.

Granted, it would be unpopular to mess with city employees before a mayoral election, but are there no measures that can be taken now? Visitors to City Hall still see greeters who sign in and out at the mayor's office. Taxpayers, some of whom may remember the days when one assistant served both the mayor and city administrator, are questioning the size of the mayor's staff. A reorganization of the Police Division expanded the number of captains from five to seven. The police chief's title was abolished and some are questioning why no consideration has been given to restructuring the Fire Division.

The city is now in the fourth quarter of the year without budget passage. Is it possible that this fiscal year will just be a bad dream from which taxpayers will not awake until after the primary election? Where to get answers? The City Council is launching its once-a-month meeting schedule Monday and the administration is hard to reach.

Monday is also the day when all hopefuls for mayor and Fourth Ward must declare themselves. The incumbent has the advantage of holding the public eye, but the disadvantage of a public record of decisions that can be scrutinized for efficacy. Contenders must make themselves known and also must offer compelling reasons why they think they can do better. The times call for a disciplined leader who will not let this little ship of state founder. If it can't be done now, tightening up the cost of government must be the number one goal for FY 2010 and onward.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the citizens of Plainfield heard you loud and clear. In this economic crisis the Administration, Mayor, has offered NOTHING in concessions. Remember the increase requested is 10%. And, that does not include school taxes, which would add another 50% to your tax base.

How does this mayor justify such an increase and lack of collaboration and caring for the people of Plainfield that a serious reduction is not being offered. 3 Assistants for the mayor alone? Police guards for her for 3 years making OT a requirement for the police to do their job? This is not a leader or someone who even knows how to run a department.

I hope Plainfielder's remember this when they vote. You may not like Adrian Mapp, but at least he has some finance backgroud. I wonder what the tax percent increase in Roselle is?

9:35 AM  
Blogger olddoc said...

Add to the increase costs of the Police Division, the demotion of Santiago from Chief to Captain supposedly was with an increase in salary!

If we are to have only two Council meetings a month, why does one have to be in conflict with the NCAA Basketball championship game. One event will have a definitive result, at the other as usual there will be n o bullet biting.

9:49 AM  
Blogger TwoSmokinBarrels said...


I am a little disappointed with your commentary. It is rather subjective and inaccurate. The County has done nothing but applaud the reorganization of the Police Department. Remember, this reorganization was NEEDED due to former Mayor Al McWilliams' cutting the department a third when crime rates were SPIKING. (the all-caps are not me yelling, just putting emphasis).

You mention the scrutiny Mayor Sharon faces upon disclosure of her record, but I disagree with you. And I encourage you to promote her record of the dramatic decrease in violent crime, the proficiency of her dealings with the PD, as well as her productive working relations with local mayors and neighboring counties. She has a very good reputation.

Again, your blogs of late have been very bland and in one word, baseless, lacking substance.


10:59 AM  
Blogger TwoSmokinBarrels said...

One more thing. If I read correctly, you want to elminate positions of 'greet-ors' in our City Hall. Bernice, are you serious?

Tightening belts does not mean removing positions that welcome individuals into our community.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said as always Bernice. We all know the games they will play until after the primary election. We all know who Assemblymen Green will be giving the Democratic line to. Sharon Robinson-Briggs will get the line for Mayor, and Mrs Vera Graves will get the line for 4th Ward council. So the soga will continue. The difference is that Plainfield is hopefully a little smarter.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Bill Hetfield said...

Why do so few fail to see that fiscal policies have become a menace to the economic well being of Plainfield? Do politicans realize that an ever expanding obsorption of taxayer's dollars has eroded confidence in their leadership & motive for serving? Why have the self-serving interests of Plainfield unions come first? These questions have been raised many times. Hope with changing a climate of greed and intoxication with power was lost when Plainfield politicians granted themselves more than token remuneration for their time devoted to public service. Now,I must go to work - so that I can continue to make a contribution to the status quo that is suffocating the once proud Queen City.

12:18 PM  

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