PLAINFIELD, NJ - Monday's City Council agenda fixing session was somewhat routine, with the exception of a discussion about a proposed layoff plan for 9-1-1 operators in Plainfield. Here's an overview of what took place.
The resolution to amend the Sleepy Hollow designated neighborhood to include portions of Fernwood Lane will be moved to the regular meeting agenda, with a 6-1 vote in favor.
Department of Finance
Individuals spoke out against a proposed layoff plan for 9-1-1 operators that would outsource the function to a private company, saying they had to find out about the plan through blogs - see Dan Damon's post about it here.
Cynthia Smith said of the operators, "Through no fault of their own, they're losing their jobs when this layoff goes into effect."
Corporation Council David Minchello said, "First off, I'd like to just take exception to the notion that there's no opportunity for any affected employee to be heard. There's both this evening, where we are hearing from the affected members and from their union representatives. And there is no vote tonight. There's also the opportunity to be heard at the next meeting. So the notion that there is no opportunity for any employees to come forward is simply not the case."
Minchello added, "There was a statement made that these employees who are absorbed by any company that we use to outsource would have their locations be anywhere in the state, not in Plainfield. Every indication we have is the opposite, that all the employees who find work with the new company would, in fact, have jobs in Plainfield.
He went on to say, "As for the rate of pay, the rate of pay is negotiable, as with any private entity. We have made every attempt, and will continue to do so, to see that every affected employee has the opportunity for employment with the new private entity."
Minchello said it is incumbent upon the administration to make the case for economy and efficiency when it comes to any layoff plan. He said the potential savings that could be realized is two million dollars.
A resolution to authorize the request for money to continue marketing, strategic rebranding and promotion of the City of Plainfield from the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) fund was introduced. Chief of Staff and Director of Communications Jazz Clayton-Hunt said the $125,000 would be utilized to continue a contract the city has with Comcast.
"As you know we've had three ads running in rotation and we'd like to add a fourth to that. Considering that we have some of our transit-oriented offerings that are coming online this year we want to support those efforts. We also are this year celebrating our 150th anniversary so some of the branding and marketing that we're going to do are going to to support those efforts as well, as well as expanding our reach to Hispanic publications and other demographics in the New York market."
In public comment, Timothy Priano raised the fact that the city's calendar on the website is not up to date.
"We need a calendar that works for the city so everyone knows when all these meetings are. We see more blanks than events on what the city is doing. It really would help the residents; if we're spending $125,000 to invite people to come to the city, let's let the residents know what is going on, too."
Director of Economic Development Valerie Jackson said the approval to accept and execute a grant agreement with the State of New Jersey will be used strictly to update the historic element of the master plan, last updated in 2009.
Jackson noted that state law requires the master plan to be updated every ten years, and it will include a long term vision for land use, community facilities, and parks and recreation resources, among others, within the city.
In public comment, Beverly Crisp expressed concerns about the future of the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation that filed bankruptcy on January 5, 2014.
"As of last year, October 2, after going through a very tedious bankruptcy process, the bankruptcy judge did not grant them the bankruptcy; however, the judge ordered that the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation be under the tutelage of a trustee, who is now in possession of the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation."
Crisp encouraged council and administration members to attend the bankruptcy hearing that will take place on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. The trustee in possession will be giving an official report in United States Bankruptcy Court, 50 Walnut Street in Newark, 3rd floor, in front of Judge Vincent F. Papalia.
The City Council regular meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in Municipal Court, at 325 Watchung Ave.