Friday, September 22, 2006

Flood of questions continues

$25K PAYOUT BEFORE COUNCIL APPROVAL? -- Rumors are swirling that TKG, the FINANCIAL ADVISER in the ANTICIPATORY NOTES brouhaha, was paid her $25,000 fee and that the check was ISSUED AND CASHED before the resolution even came before the Council. The Administration should produce the documents at once and put the matter to rest. Unless, of course, the rumor is true. In which case, maybe Ted Romankow would like to know more...

ALARM BELLS NOT GOING OFF OVER 'FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION' APPOINTMENT? -- PT's email is ringing off the hook on this one. Has the Council done its due diligence? There are many questions that should be answered about the qualifications of anyone to handle the responsibilities of managing the City's LARGEST department. As with ANY CANDIDATE, their qualifications should be intensely examined.

What IS their experience with large-scale government budgets? What is their experience managing people working in a variety of situations with widely different responsibilities -- from Health Officer to Senior Citizens program to Drug Rehab to Municipal Court to Purchasing, Audit & Control?

And making sure that the salary is justified by the qualifications and work history?

FLOOD OF QUESTIONS CONTINUES -- Though last night's Planning Board agenda did not include memorializing the new FEMA flood maps for Plainfield, the topic was still a buzz among several attendees who could not crowd into the Library. (Note: PT learned after posting that -- although memorializing this item was NOT on the printed agenda -- Chairperson Ken Robertson did indeed draw up by hand a memorialization, subsequently passed by the Board. Whew!)

Rumors swirl when the administration fails to put its cards on the table. Basically, kibitzers did not find the Monday or Wednesday performances "crisp and satisfying" to quote the Pepsi tagline. Two bits of gossip were shared with PT: that the FEMA communications were supposedly addressed to the City Engineer and that Jenny Wenson-Maier is said not to have even SEEN the FEMA correspondence before she was put on the hot seat.

Well, an interesting thing about blogging is that you never know who is reading -- or what their connections may be. In publishing there is the phrase 'over the transom.' Well, after PT's Wednesday post on the FLOOD ZONE ORDINANCE questions (
"Administration: The dog ate my homework"), someone with FEMA connections volunteered -- 'over the transom' -- that IN FACT, ALL OF THE FEMA CORRESPONDENCE HAS BEEN ADDRESSED TO THE MAYOR. Letters in March, July and August.

This points away from blaming Carl Turner, the City Engineer. And it might support the contention that Wenson-Maier was in the dark about the crisis. Was she told to 'fall on her sword'?

Which leads to the REAL burning question: Can it be that the Mayor's office dropped the ball and is the source of all the confusion and angst?

THE NEW & IMPROVED WEBSITE -- Whatever the City Administrator may think about the current iteration of the City's website, one thing is clear: the table of Boards and Commissions which John DiPane and I put up on the City's website after the passage of the Civic Responsibility Act at Ray Blanco's urging CAN NO LONGER BE FOUND THERE.

Of course, the real McCoy is found by going to the Clerk's office, (908) 753-3222.

But, to try and help, PT is posting a conversion of the Excel spreadsheet originally provided by the Citizens Action group (
"Table of Boards/Commissions"). The web page built by Excel's conversion is EXECRABLE, but the info is there. The info is taken by the group from the Charter, and betrays the compiler's lack of familiarity with the facts on the ground. But it's the best I can find. Just scroll down -- endlessly -- for the table. This will have to do until the City decides to take the Act seriously.

METHINKS THE LADY PROTESTS TOO MUCH -- As Bernice reports on last evening's Planning Board meeting, Jenny Wenson-Maier defended the simultaneous approvals of the East Third Street STUDY and PLAN. Methinks the lady protests too much. More on this later...

-- Dan Damon

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