PLAINFIELD, NJ - The agenda for Tuesday’s combined Agenda-Fixing and Regular Meeting includes a first: after five years in office, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp is issuing his first “executive order.”
COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE MAYOR:
EXECUTIVE ORDER #1 DIRECTING THE FOLLOWING:
- THIS ADMINISTRATION WILL NOT HIRE ANY ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS AS PERMITTED BY THE SPECIAL CHARTER.
- ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS SHALL ONLY BE HIRED PURSUANT TO THE NEW JERSEY CIVIL SERVICE GUIDELINES THAT EXISTED PRIOR TO THE AMENDMENTS ADOPTED BY SENATE BILL NO. 2763.
- NO CURRENT ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS WILL BE IMPACTED BY THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER.
- THIS ORDER WILL TAKE EFFECT ON OCTOBER 21, 2019.
The subject matter goes back to a controversy that arose over legislation in 2018 (Senate Bill S2763) that modified changes recommended by the Charter Study Commission in 2013.
The Commission recommended three departments as in the original charter, with 1 to 3 possible additional departments. The legislation, passed in August 2018, allowed for up to five additional departments and as many as 10 “confidential assistants” to be added. Mary Burgwinkle, who served as secretary to the Charter Study Commission, took issue with changes being made without the Commission’s knowledge. She voiced her opposition in comments at council meetings and in a letter to the editor.
The city currently has seven departments. The titles “confidential aide” and “confidential assistant” are not found on the Civil Service Job Title list, but there is the title, “Administrative Assistant 3,” with wide-ranging responsibilities.
A request for comment from Mayor Mapp was not answered by time of publication.
Tuesday’s combined Agenda-Fixing and Regular meeting is 7 p.m. in Municipal Court/City Council Chambers, 325 Watchung Avenue. Citizens may ask questions about resolutions and ordinances before they are voted on, and there is a public comment portion before the meeting adjourns.
UPDATE: A response from Mayor Mapp was received.
There is no litigation involved. The request to place the confidential aides in the charter was based on erroneous information provided to a cabinet member by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). However, shortly after hiring a new director of personnel, the CSC corrected the erroneous information and affirmed its aged old policy that permits each department director to have a confidential aide.
Hence my executive order simply reaffirms my previously stated position that confidential aides, permitted by the Charter will never be hired by my administration. We will continue to be guided by what is permissible under the CSC.