Saturday, January 09, 2010

IT Director Coming Soon

At her monthly visit with seniors last week, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs announced that the administration will soon hire an IT director.

When someone asked for the person's name, Robinson-Briggs said the individual must resign from current employment and a contract must be finalized before she can give a name.

The administration can hire the director without City Council approval, as the title is not part of the cabinet roster, which requires advice and consent of the governing body. In action last year, the administration floated one title for the new post before settling on "Manager I of Information Processing" with a salary range of $70,000 to $110,000. Although discussion of the need for an IT person went on throughout 2009, the City Council did not give final approval to an ordinance establishing the post until September 14.

Click here for a prior post on the issue.

Robinson-Briggs won re-election in November, giving her the power among other things to hire the IT director and possibly some staff.

Despite former City Administrator Marc Dashield's denial last spring that the job was destined for a certain person, the notion has resurfaced. Speculators will be watching personnel resolutions at the Jan. 19 Board of Education meeting for clues.

--Bernice Paglia

13 Comments:

Blogger olddoc said...

Are you inferring that jobs in Plainfield's administrative structure can be a reward for loss of position in the PSS?

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...a contract must be finalized before she can give a name."?????

A contract requires appoval by City Council and that would require a name so wouldn't it come out then?

And since when did employment in the City of Plainfield in a Civil Service title require a contract?

And if there can be such a contract and that individual does not produce, will taxpayers be paying for a buy out??

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Annie is reading this. Contract??????

5:23 PM  
Blogger Bernice said...

The contract issue came up at the council level a while back. Council members did ask about it. I think there is a difference between members of the Plainfield Municipal Employees Association (PMEA) and the administrators union, the Plainfield Municipal Managers Association (PMMA).
I never realized it until recently, but apparently higher-level employees can set terms of employment. All y'all out there, please correct me if I'm wrong.
There is also a bunch of non-union employees. Not sure whether the IT person will fall into that category.

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the Technology Citizen's group? Do they meet or provide advice to the council?

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a civil service position. This title is approved by the Department of Personnel in Trenton. The only thing the City can do is set the salary range for this position.

The position would fall into the category of a non-union position. The PMMA could argue that this position should be within their Union but would lose simply becuase this position could be considered a confidential employee since they could access almost any information and although illegal, could access city email accounts.

Can anyone name any other employee in the history of the City of Plainfield that had a "CONTRACT". Especially one that was approved by City Council which is the only governing body that can authorize a contract.

Also, if the Mayor sticks her neck out and has guaranteed an individual a job, this can be considered a promise of employment and put the City at risk of a law suit if it falls by the wayside for whatever reason.

Can't wait to see how this one pans out.

8:02 PM  
Blogger Bernice said...

To 6:16 p.m., someone on the council asked whether the technology committee would have any input on the hire and Dashield said "No."
As for any word on the work of these council committees, not much came out last year. I think there will be more of a formal reporting system in 2010.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bernice,
Something doesn't smell right about this. The individual has to resign from his job in the school system and finalize a "contract" for employment in the city in this civil service position? Why is the mayor hiring him, anyway? Wasn't there supposed to be a job search to find a qualified IT manager? There are scores of qualified former IT directors looking for work. Just check on the career and job search sites! This is PURE PATRONAGE, and it looks as if the mayor WILL be continuing her old practices. Annie, Adrian and the rest of the city council have to step in here. Mediocrity simply CANNOT be the rule for this second term.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:54am - I would be thrilled if mediocrity ruled for the second term. My feeling is that it is better than total failure that marks the first.

This mayor has to go down as one of the worst in Plainfield's history. Right up there with George W. Bush for the country.

1:38 PM  
Blogger MichaelT said...

I agree with 8:02 PM. There are no contracts for positions that fall within Civil Service jurisdiction.

"At will" emloyees can seek a contract before being hired, but don't always get one. In my municipal experience (33 years), I've found that administrators or managers are usually given contracts; other department heads are not.

The department head and employer may agree on perquisites before hiring, such as number of vacation days, use of a municipal vehicle, etc. but not in the form of a contract. The employee performs the required tasks and enjoys the salary, perks and benefits, all the while subject to dismissal by the employer at its will.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It use to be that non-union employees, including department heads, received the same benefits, including cost of living increases, (for which there should be none for 2010) that was provided to the PMEA. Vacation and sick days for all City employees are set by the personnel code. Longevity is no longer provided to new hires. I don't believe there are any "at will" employees in civil service environment and use of City vehicles is subject to council approval.

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If an IT Director is hired - the first priority should be to remove the "Coming Soon...Our Online Community Videos" link from the City's website. It's been over 8 months now.

Other things that need attention besides the whole website:

- Community Events out dated
- Is the last Proclamation the Mayor wrote actually "In memory of Former Mayor McWilliams"?
- Is the last Press Release by the Mayor on 03-24-2009?
- Update 2010 City Council Meeting Schedule
- Update City Administrator Page
- Change link for PCTV74 to bePCTV96 or play it safe and just use PCTV.

7:15 PM  
Blogger MichaelT said...

Following up 6:44 PM's comment - Since department directors are not Civil Service, they therefor serve "at will" - in Plainfield's case, that is at the will of the Mayor who appointed them. She can dismiss any department head at any time, without cause. If the IT manager is a Civil Service position, then that person would not be "at will" and therefor a contract of employment would not be appropriate (and probably not valid.)

3:19 PM  

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