PLAINFIELD, NJ - Four years after Plainfield unsuccessfully sought state approval for revisions to its special charter, the city will try again, for changes including dual office holding and a break from having only three departments.
A five-member Charter Study Commission was elected in November 2012 and conducted 29 meetings, including interviews with past mayors, administrators and other officials regarding the Special Charter that was enacted by the New Jersey Legislature in 1968. The commission issued its amended final report on Dec. 31, 2013 and in 2014 petitioned the Legislature to enact changes that included dropping a prohibition on dual office holding, such as both being mayor and holding an Assembly seat. However, no action was taken.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, an ordinance was introduced to renew the petition. Corporation Counsel David Minchello said, “We believe the legislature may entertain these amendments at this time.”
Councilman Barry Goode, who was not on the council in 2014, asked, “What are the amendments?”
Minchello said there were many, including the prohibition on dual office holding and the limit on departments.
“A lot of work went into this,” Councilman Cory Storch said, and asked all council members to use the time before final passage next month to review the amendments.
The final report, including proposed changes, is posted on the city’s website.
Storch further suggested formation of a commission or committee to give a report so the council could make “an informed yes vote.” But Minchello said the council must accept or reject the findings of the Charter Study Commission and move it forward or not.
Storch persisted, but Mayor Adrian O. Mapp said the only reason the city was going through the process was that action should have taken place in the same year as the petition and nothing had changed. Storch still urged a review anyway.
The vote to petition the Legislature was 6-1, with Goode, Storch, Rebecca Williams, Joylette Mills-Ransome , Steve Hockaday and Council President Charles McRae voting “yes” and Diane Toliver voting “no.”
There will be a public hearing on April 9 before the council votes on second reading and final passage.