Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Collection Plan Rejected Again

Councilman William Reid dislikes debt collectors so much that he would rather see the city lose up to half a million dollars in court fines rather than seek an agency to recoup the money. Councilwoman Rebecca Williams says letting the fines slide is a slap in the face to officers who wrote the tickets and "makes a mockery of the court."

So went the latest standoff over the administration's proposal to seek a collection firm for $750,000 in fines owed to the Plainfield Municipal Court. The council was asked Tuesday to authorize a "request for proposals" with a proviso that the selected company could keep up to 22 percent of what is collected.
Only four council members were present Tuesday and there was no consensus to move the resolution to the agenda at the Sept. 10 regular meeting.

In public comment, resident and blogger Dr. Harold Yood urged the objectors to reconsider, saying the offenders likely had multiple fines. He acknowledged Reid's concerns about debt collectors, but said,"You are dealing with people who broke the law."

Yood said, "Compassion is great - it's wonderful. But you are not dealing with the average citizen. You are dealing with people who constantly (flaunt) the law."

His words did not sway Reid, even though the councilman had just cited an instance of trying to help someone who could not get out of jail until he paid off numerous traffic tickets in half a dozen towns.

Public Works Director Eric Jackson, sitting in Tuesday for City Administrator Eric Berry, said Municipal Court officials had asked the administration to bring back the collection measure, which had been rejected last month.

Jackson said the administration would be sensitive to Reid's concerns and noted many fines were owed by people outside the city.

"We're not intending to beat down residents," Jackson said, urging reconsideration.

Note: Whatever past experience may have soured Reid on debt collection, debtors now have new safeguards against harassment in the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 2011. The Federal Trade Commission enforces its provisions. Debt collectors may no longer call people at odd hours or at work and may not tell others why they are trying to track down the debtor. The legislation was not mentioned at the council meeting, but Plaintalker encourages a look at it and also urges reconsideration of the proposed legislation sought by court officials.



Blogger Rob said...

So Reid supports ignoring the law if enforcing it is somehow "offensive".
Well.. I think the Police Department should start showing Bill Reid what it's like to have complete disrespect for their jobs.


9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I do get a ticket. I will plan on NOT paying it, since now I understand the payment is NOT enforced. Why should we pay? Seriously, if you don't enforce the law there will be lawlessness...oh, which is what we have in Plainfield.

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Plainfield NJ has increased for 5 of 8 Latino Spanish speakers in our little society. Are there more coming? Is Plainfield the target of more increases of illegal Latino populous? How much more of the mothers with 4 or 5 kids, or bicyclists who our a danger when one walks on the side walk? The Latino culture demand celebrations over the spring & summer month. The decimal loudness demands you shot your windows, which doesn't help. I live a mile from Plainfield center. The music, the DJ's, the noise, the constant hordes of people speaking in a loud Spanish voice, can be to much to over come! It's their culture-Not mine! There are too many of them...

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its very simple,if you receive a ticket for a violation you should pay, that is the law. If you are not guilty then go to court and state your case.

As for obtaining a collection company for 750,000 is ridiculous. Does Plainfield even have the money? How much would it cost to hire temporary employees for the lets call it "Debt Collect Project" 15 to 20 people at min wage,train them properly so they are not violating any laws to call the people to collect money owed consider payment plans too. Projected time based on how many cases and how many to assign each worker I'm pretty sure this would be less than 750,000.

7:46 PM  

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