Government: "Just and Capable" or Just Incapable?
The advantage of being an incumbent mayor is that one is the face of the city in innumerable photo ops, but the disadvantage is that there is a track record that can be examined.
In the early years, the mayor enjoyed approvals from the governing body on almost everything offered. More recently, City Council members have grown a bit testy when they can't get answers from the administration on important matters such as budget introduction.
Blog archives since 2005 serve as records of the administration's questionable moves. One was the hiring of Nagy Sileem as Assistant Public Works director when there was already someone in that role at a comparable salary. In addition, Sileem was on the record as working in another municipality.
One confidential aide was reportedly on the job before the enabling ordinance passed. Another assigned to the city administrator stayed on in an unknown capacity after the city administrator resigned.
Another aide of Assemblyman Jerry Green was given a civilian position in the Police Division.
Even after the program of "greeters" in the City Hall Rotunda was dropped, the son of a politically-connected person is still on duty and presumably getting paid.
Since this administration took hold, numerous occasions were augmented by offerings of free food and staffing by volunteer city personnel to dish it out.
All these occasions were no doubt special, but at what cost and to whose benefit?
Still, never mind the ceremonial occasions, what about the legalities?
One of the favorite ploys of an incoming administration is to demand a "forensic audit" of the previous administration. It looks good in terms of assigning blame, but in reality not much emerges to enlighten the public. The current adminstration may need the real thing.
Now that Sharon and Jerry have apparently "gone to the mattress" in this campaign by not showing up to debates, we may never know what their views are in 2009. Therefore, if they should prevail on Nov. 3, citizens must demand to know what they have in mind for the next four years.
If they do not prevail, the winners must reveal full information on their goals and plans for the next four years.
This city is full of passionate citizens who want Plainfield to achieve its full potential and recognition in coming years. People come here or stay because they want to, because they "get" Plainfield. Elected officials who stand in the way of this progress may find themselves gone. But those who come next must offer more than just hope. They must offer concrete plans for the future.
Vote on Nov. 3 as your conscience dictates and then hold the winners accountable to take the city to its next level as a vital entity in Central Jersey. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.