Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Government: "Just and Capable" or Just Incapable?

With two months to go in the current adminstration, there are few indicators of good government. A massive turnover in finance directors, a spotty record on chief finance officers and a few too many add-ons such as confidential aide posts and bodyguards leave the average citizen wondering what the incumbent has to brag about.

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.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bernice, for your lucid commentary.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What debates didn't Jerry & Sharon show up at?

12:18 AM  
Anonymous PubliusNJ said...

Sharon Robinson-Briggs has had four years to make a positive mark on our city. She's barely been able to get the cap off the pen.

Yes, major crime is down, but that's true all over, and it couldn't have gotten much worse.

Muhlenberg might have closed even if she had been much more vigilant, aggressive and proactive, but she wasn't.

The city's payroll has gotten larger, which is bad news in both the short and long terms.

The city's true financial situation is unknown because the budget is unreleased, again. Needed funds can't be spent because of procedural errors.

Even before the financial and real estate collapse development in Plainfield was almost at a standstill. There are a few new residences, but no major new businesses, no new services, and no new rateables.

The Senior Center has taken forever, is still not open, and has come at a very high price because of the Monarch debacle.

She doesn't even bother to respond to basic campaign questions in the newspaper of record, or to answer a phone call about crucial government business.

Electing Sharon Robinson-Briggs for a second term would be like reelecting George Bush – everyone knew he was horrible, but just enough people voted him in out of fear or blind loyalty. Don't make that same mistake.

Please, if you live in Plainfield and want our city to progress and all of its residents to prosper, give someone else the chance to make things right.

On election day get to the polls; get your family and friends to the polls. Vote for change for the better, vote for change now.

1:33 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Unfortunately even if she gets voted out...That annoyingly self serving GRIN will be burned in all our memories from her many photo ops.... Even Medusa got her's in the end !!

6:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice, unfortunately Jerry and Sharon are going to be voted back into office. They will ride the Democratic wins in the state. Unfortunately, blog readers and activists never have the numbers to make changes at local levels. For the residents of Plainfield who do vote for them, they deserve everything that is provided to them; lazy initiatives, self-serving smiles and kisses, late meetings, silly press conferences and Jerry's amazing ventriloquist act in regards to Sharon. If anything, it keeps you, Dan, Maria and Old Doc with something to write about.

10:37 AM  
Anonymous Keep It Real said...

Thanks for your comments Bernice. This is a time when we need to make thoughtful decisions, not just a knee jerk reaction. I believe what it will take to get Plainfield on the right track will be painful and almost political suicide for whatever administration is in power. Sometimes we the people are our own worst enemy. It will take money to make money; that means raising taxes. You can't have a ghetto-like mentality of trying to get the best, for nothing. After saying that, you will need the best people. That means you can’t expect to attract high qualify people and pay them minimum wage. They will simple go elsewhere. Last, you will need cooperation from the other stakeholders (City Council, Assemblymen, state legistrators and the Governor). All of the above steps are hard and will take someone with the political will and vision to make it happen. The candidate for me must demonstrate their political will to do the right thing, have a coherent, viable and actionable plan and ability to implement that plan. Playing off emotional rhetoric, doesnt work with me. That is what got Plainfield in the mess in the first place.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get off Bush.... This is getting old.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Jim Pivnichny said...

Regarding not showing up at debates, in the primary election Sharon did not show up a the candidate forum held at Shiloh Baptist Church. She also did not show up for the candidate discussions on the Harvest Radio (1070 AM) Town Talker program on one occasion in the primary election, and she showed up 1/2 hour late for the second. Moreover, she missed the first opportunity (yesterday) to participate in this program in the general election without giving an excuse or an apology. Let's hope she shows up for the second opportunity to participate on this show, next Thursday (Oct. 29) at 4 PM. Please tune in; I'll be there.

2:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home