Taylor Approved as City Administrator
Taylor had served as acting city administrator and acting director of Administration, Finance, Health & Social Services since Jan. 1. She was previously acting director of AFH&SS from July 2009 to Dec. 31, when the first term of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs ended. On Jan. 1, Robinson-Briggs began a second term and named Taylor to both posts, but said it was only until Jan. 31, as Taylor was taking a job in East Orange.
Taylor's change in plans met with relief by the governing body, which had been very pleased by her forthright and comprehensive budget presentations last year and her communication skills as acting city administrator in January.
On Feb. 8, the City Council approved her appointment as city administrator to serve until 1/1/2014. She was granted a residency waiver, meaning she will not have to move from East Orange to Plainfield. Although a resolution for 24-hour use of a city-owned car appeared on the Feb. 1 agenda, it was pulled by Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson, and at the regular Feb. 8 meeting Taylor was granted a $10,000 annual car allowance in addition to a salary of $120,000.
Another cabinet role was filled Feb. 8 with the announcement that David Brown II would be on the job as director of Public Works & Urban Development. Brown had been appointed Jan. 1, but was not expected until April 1. However, his predecessor, Jennifer Wenson Maier, took a post in Hoboken last week and left city employment.
The city still needs a permanent AFH&SS director and has not yet named a permanent chief finance officer to replace Peter Sepelya, who retired at the end of 2007. In Robinson-Briggs' first four-year term, AFH&SS duties were handed off seven times to various acting and permanent directors. The city is under a directive from the state Division of Local Services to hire a permanent CFO, but certifications of funding are still being signed by acting CFO Sandra Cummings. Taylor was briefly signing certifications last year, but had to stop because she is not a certified CFO.
The post of deputy city administrator remains vacant. During the tenure of the late former Mayor Albert T. McWilliams, the deputy city administrator was in charge of economic development. In the first term of Robinson-Briggs, economic development duties fell to the PW&UD director.
Two cabinet members who served in the last four years were reappointed on Jan. 1. They are Public Affairs & Safety Director Martin Hellwig and Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson.