PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Plainfield Municipal Utility Authority’s Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Eric Jackson as Executive Director to succeed Daniel Mejias at its June board meeting.
No stranger to Plainfield, Jackson served as Director of Public Works in two previous administrations, and most recently as the Mayor of Trenton.
He sat down with TAPinto Plainfield to share his thoughts on his return to the city, and the future of the PMUA.
When he was asked why he is returning to town, Jackson said Plainfield is a great city with great people, and he said he is well poised to share his talents and skills with a great organization, ready to take it to the next level.
Jackson feels that the strength of the Board of Commissioners and their vision is aligned with the current city administration, enabling a stronger relationship between the two entities. He said he would utilize his existing relationships within the city to ensure that the PMUA is aligned with city initiatives.
He stated that the residents of Plainfield continue to be the organization’s highest priority. Immediate tasks include assessing existing services to ensure that efficiencies are maintained and rates are stabilized.
In terms of improving the overall reputation of PMUA, Jackson feels that the organization already has a stellar one, which is what attracted him to this current opportunity, and is evidenced by outside communities seeking to establish relationships with PMUA. That may not be very apparent to the Plainfield community.
Citing the recent rate increases, Jackson explained that they were a result of the general increases in the cost of doing business, and those costs at a certain point had to be passed on to consumers. The PMUA is currently assessing efficiencies that will allow future costs to be absorbed internally, as well as any residual values as a result of providing services to outside communities. This, according to Jackson, will allow for stabilized rates in the future.
Jackson said it is too early to determine if there will be any increases in staffing. However, he is already working with the management team to identify and evaluate growth areas, and to determine if existing staff can absorb additional responsibilities and the capacity of the existing equipment.
Jackson is excited by the current development taking place in Plainfield, and stated that the PMUA has to be at the table in the early stages of discussions with developers. The PMUA is engaged with all of the developers coming into the city in order to establish relationships, and a process is in place to assess the services that the company can provide throughout the development and life of the projects.
His breadth and depth of experience includes over 15 years in managing Trenton’s Public Works Department which is three times the capacity of the city of Plainfield. His responsibilities there included oversight of sewer lines, solid waste collection and an independently owned water facility. Skill sets that Jackson gained from his experience in Trenton will give him the practical and functional insight that can be applied at the PMUA.
TAPinto Plainfield asked Jackson about global recycling issues. He stated that being a commodities business undergoing so many rapid global changes, recycling is not a stable industry in terms of profits. Individual products have to be examined to see if they can be recycled profitably. The PMUA has already been looking at creative ways of doing collection and disposal without the additional financial burdens to the organization.
When asked what Jackson wants the residents of Plainfield to know about PMUA, he said, “I would like to remind them that we are a service-oriented organization to provide outstanding services to the community with a committed staff who are willing to go above and beyond to respond to the needs of the residents.”
He added, “PMUA is here to give back to the community, as evidenced by the upcoming Eric Watson Environmental Fair; help to grow and inspire the community. Our focus is on efficiencies, stabilizing rates and making sure that an outstanding array of services is provided to Plainfield at the core. We want to make sure that residents understand the value of the services that PMUA is providing.”
The public is invited to attend and participate at the company’s board meetings to gain firsthand knowledge of the company’s initiatives. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14th at 127 Roosevelt Avenue location at 6 p.m.
The Eric C. Watson Memorial Environment Fair will be held on Saturday, September 8th at the park adjacent to the Plainfield Public Library, 800 Park Ave.