PLAINFIELD, NJ - The Plainfield City Council Annual Reorganization Meeting was held at the Municipal Court on Monday, Jan. 9th. The meeting opened with a salute to the flag by the Plainfield High School Junior Air Force ROTC, and an invocation by Bishop Glen A. Colley of New Covenant Church.
Charles McCrae had been elected Third Ward Councilman in November. The oath of office was administered to him tonight by Courtney L. Smith, Esq. for a four year term.
The Honorable Adrian O. Mapp, Mayor of Plainfield, followed, administering the oath to Councilwoman-at-Large Rebecca Williams, also for a four year term. She was also elected 2017 City Council President by a 4-2 vote, with Councilwomen Bridget Rivers and Diane Toliver opposed. Williams thanked Councilman Cory Storch for his service as 2016 Council President, noting Storch "struck a tone of civility" in his leadership.
Councilman Barry Goode of the First and Fourth Wards was elected 2017 Chairperson, Committee of the Whole, by that same 4-2 vote.
Mayor Mapp then took a moment and referenced the incident that took place on Saturday, Jan. 7th at Clark's high school during the girls basketball game. He introduced Clark's Mayor, Sal Bonaccorso, who had attended the game.
Bonaccorso proceeded to offer an apology to the residents and school district of Plainfield, and said he truly didn't know if what took place had been done with malice. He did, however, state that it is being investigated by a number of authorities. Plainfield's own Superintendent of Schools Anna Belin-Pyles issued a statement about taking decisive action on behalf of the student athletes and the District.
The meeting then resumed, with three names put forth to fill the Second and Third Ward City Council vacancy. Joylette Mills-Ransome's name was announced first, and with a vote of 4-2 with Rivers and Tolivers opposed, Mills-Ransome was sworn in.
Two items in particular generated more heated discussion, from City Council members as well as in public comment. The first, broached by Rivers, was with respect to safety for both Council members and the public for those meetings held in the City Hall library. Police Director Carl Riley assured the Council members that he and his team have devised a safety plan.
The second agenda item was the resolution granting approval for the appointment of Douglas Mitchell, Esq., not from Plainfield, as Chief Public Defender. He would replace Joy Spriggs, who does live in town. Further discussion among council members was tabled due to pending litigation. Williams, McCrae, and Mills-Ransome voted in favor of Mitchell's apointment; Rivers and Toliver were opposed, and Goode abstained. Later, in public comment, residents and family came to the microphone asking the council to reconsider their position on Spriggs.
The meeting was adjourned soon after.