Government

City of Plainfield Seeks Manager for $7 Million Vehicle Fleet

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Councilwoman Bridget Rivers, middle, with Councilman Charles McRae on her left, and City Administrator Rick Smiley on her right. Credits: Jennifer Popper
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PLAINFIELD, NJ - A fleet manager proposal that failed in 2015 despite a 26-page rationale is back and headed for final passage in September.

The Civil Service post called “Manager Motors” would place one person in charge of the city’s  fleet of 253 vehicles used by police, fire, public works and other staff, freeing up a police captain and fire lieutenant, among others, who now maintain it.

The administration tried three times in 2015 to gain City Council approval for ordinances establishing the title and setting a salary range. On Monday, the ordinances passed on first reading, 4-2, with Charles McRae, Joylette Mills-Ransome, Barry Goode and Council President Rebecca Williams saying “yes” and Diane Toliver and Bridget Rivers emphatically saying “no.” Cory Storch was absent.

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The 26-page documentpdf explaining the proposal is still up on the city’s website, but Rivers especially denounced the proposal as a waste of taxpayers’ money and insisted the job could be shifted to secretaries.

City Administrator Rick Smiley outlined the current time and cost for four people to cover fleet management:

  • A Police Captain’s time, 40 percent at $59,297
  • A Fire Lieutenant’s time, 35 percent at $36,683
  • The Public Works Superintendent’s time, 8 percent at $9,054
  • A mechanic’s time, 25 percent at over $20,000

The total cost now is $125,696, Smiley said, and the tasks take time from the individuals’ normally assigned duties. The person named “Manager Motors” would receive $70,000, out of a salary range from $70,000 to $102,000.

“I saw the bogus numbers,” Rivers said, mentioning additional costs for benefits.

“Everyone knows this is my same stance,” she said.

The quest for the title and salary began in January 2015, with the administration’s goal of a centralized approach to the acquisition, maintenance, repair, replacement and purchase of city vehicles and related equipment valued at over $7 million. Two more attempts followed, in March and August of 2015, without success. The difference now is that Mayor Adrian O. Mapp has a favorable majority on the council.

 If the City Council agrees at its Tuesday, Sept. 5 meeting to move the ordinances to the Monday, Sept. 11 regular meeting agenda, passage appears likely.

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