Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010 State of City Report Online

Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs launched her second term by putting her State of the City report online and promised better communication witht he public in 2010.

The mayor handed out hard copies of the 30-page report at the annual reorganization meeting and presented key points with a display of charts and graphics.

Communication was an issue in her first term, as residents complained that both the city's web site and the local cable channel were below par. Last year, the City Council approved the establishment of an IT manager post that will include oversight of public information dissemination.

The administration revived the post of public information officer during the mayor's first term, but the last person holding the job left city employment in March 2009. Around that time, the cable channel programming stalled for lack of staff. The cable operation still has only one employee and one consultant, but the Cable Television Advisory Board was recently invigorated with new members and Lamar Mackson as chairman. Once the IT manager is hired, it is expected that the advisory board will help gear up the operation. At present, there is one municipal channel, although a franchise agreement with Comcast of the Plainfields allows for an educational channel as well.

The city receives about $100,000 in franchise fees for the local cable operation, which will double when Verizon's FiOS reaches a certain level of penetration in the city.

For the immediate future, the mayor's main concern will be securing cabinet members to serve in her four-year term. Her nominations of Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson and Police Director/Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig for second terms both won City Council approval and were sworn in Friday. The council also approved her nomination of David Brown II as director of Public Works & Urban Development, but Brown was absent Friday.

The mayor named Bibi Taylor acting city administrator and acting director of Administration, Finance, Health & Social Services Friday and Taylor was sworn in, but will be leaving for a position in East Orange in 30 days. Taylor served as AFH&SS director since July 2009. Former City Administrator Marc Dashield resigned to become Montclair's township manager and former PW&UD Director Jennifer Wenson Maier was not reappointed.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Alan Goldstein said...

I recently saw a business report on PBS (I think it was PBS) about a community that had an old vacant movie theater. Private funding ressurected the theater, and local high school students were recruited to manage and operate the business as part of a school business program.

This might work very well with our cable TV station. It would provide students with a 'real world' experience and they could design and create programming of local interest that spanned the entertainment, education, and information areas.

The more students that are involved, the more Plainfield families will be watching. There might even be some funding available because the station would be tied into the school.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't like to see people lose their jobs, but JWM brought it upon herself. If she would have been responsive to any of the people's concerns (return emails, phone calls, meet with people), she probably would have been reappointed.

What happened with Bibi Taylor? Very sad since she displayed great competence. Great way for the administration to start the next 4 years.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't believe the mayor let Bibi Taylor slip through her fingers! Taylor was the best thing that happened in this admin in 4 years! Is there ANY WAY we can keep her? Can she help us find her replacement?

On another note, David Brown as PWUD? Are you serious?? Looks like the county still has its fingers in the till. Look up his record, Bernice and tell us how this guy's experience makes him qualified to run this division. This is not the mayor's choice, its the county's choice. Sad.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Bibi Taylor was a super competent administrator and should have been the next City Administrator. Plainfield's loss again of competent people.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears the Mayor fumbled the Bibi Taylor appointment. Did she consult with the council if Bibi wanted more pay?

Brown is a sidekick for the County - too bad we get stuck with county puppets.

Jennifer WM - thank you Mayor for kicking her out. About time!!

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible that good competent people are leaving city emploment in droves because of the nasty mean-spirited way that so many citizens approach them and the rest of the administration? How come nobody has anything nice to say until the person is leaving??? I wish all you nasty name callers would band together and secede from Plainfield and join Scotch Plains or South Plainfield. It would be great to see you go. Please.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JWM is gone and when will DW be on his way? They could have held hands and left at the sametime. Koombaya

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to secede from Plainfield....if only it were that easy to do....

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brown is a BIG mistake. How could the city council have approved him? How is it that a guy who was being considered for city administrator is "slotted in" as Public Works director, as if the two positions are interchangeable? This doesn't make sense, and portends business as usual. It looks like the mayor and council will allow the county to dictate choices as they try to advance their own careers as opposed to moving the city forward. What happened to positive change. This looks like negative change. I hope not.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scotch Plains people don't want the nasty name callers here either.

11:33 AM  

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