Thursday, November 05, 2009

Council Year Winding Up

There are only five more City Council meetings on the 2009 calendar, the next one being 7:30 p.m. Monday in City Hall Library.

Perhaps we will find out how the administration has responded to the state Division of Local Government Services regarding the naming of a temporary Chief Finance Officer. As previously reported, the city has had no permanent CFO for two years. A city employee's name has been improperly appearing as a co-signer on municipal checks. Most recently, the administration tried to pass off the new director of Administration, Finance, Health & Social Services as a CFO, but she is not certified.

In an Oct. 8 letter to the mayor and council, LGS Director Susan Jacobucci gave the city three weeks to explain "the status of the appointment of a certified CFO for the City of Plainfield." But council members said they never saw the letter. That's where the story left off before election time, but at a town meeting on Oct. 29, Councilman Adrian Mapp gave more information on the process of naming a temporary CFO. A person can be so named for one year while attaining certification and a second one-year nomination may be made. If by then the individual has not yet achieved certification, he or she would have to step down.

After Monday's agenda-fixing session, the regular meeting for November is 8 p.m. Nov. 16 in Municipal Court. The December agenda-fixing session will be 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Cook School. The regular meeting follows at 8 p.m. on Dec. 14 in Municipal Court.

On Dec. 21, an agenda-fixing session will take place at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library for the Jan. 1 annual reorganization.

Some councilwatchers have their hopes up that the City Council will revert to the former schedule of two agenda-fixing sessions and two regular meetings per month in 2010. If such a calendar received approval in the next two months, it could kick in at the start of 2010. The last two major changes to the calendar took place in the month of April, causing an official annual calendar from January to be replaced in a somewhat confusing transition. Let your representatives know whether you favor changing back to the traditional schedule.

This is also the season to apply for various boards and commissions. A list of vacancies has been compiled, but not posted as required by the Civic Responsibility Act of 2005. Applications can be downloaded from the city web site and must be completed and returned to the mayor's office. It is advisable to keep a copy and send another one to the City Clerk's office.

The mayor nominates prospective board and commission members for City Council approval. Because most boards and commissions reorganize in January, it is optimal to have new members aboard by then.

The mayor will also have to name her cabinet on Jan. 1. That roster will include a city administrator, three department heads, the corporation counsel and any other top administrative titles such as police director or deputy city administrator. A new manager of Information Technology title was approved recently, but it is unclear whether that is a cabinet title.

Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs won a second term and will be sworn in at the reorganization, as will Fourth Ward Councilwoman Bridget Rivers.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Rob said...

Here's hoping for brighter days!

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one, am going to start paying much more attention to the city's happenings, and demanding the council keep the administration accountable. I hope my fellow citizens will do the same, and not wimp out.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: applying for boards and commissions

The application is on the city's web site, but I don't see a list anywhere of the names of these panels. So, while the first question asked on the form is "For which board or commission would you like to be considered?" I have no idea what I could choose from. All of the above?

10:52 AM  

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