PLAINFIELD, NJ — The Plainfield City Council’s annual reorganization meeting on Monday was held with a full house in attendance to witness both new members being sworn in, and the election of a new council president and vice president.
Municipal Clerk Abubakar Jalloh briefly held the seat, typically occupied by the council president, to call the meeting to order. This was followed by a salute to the flag with the Plainfield PBA's Local Honor Guard, and an invocation delivered by Rev. Reginald McCrae.
The agenda moved swiftly to administer the oath of office to Sean McKenna, Councilman for the Second Ward for a 4-year term. McKenna replaced Cory Storch, who held the seat for sixteen years.
McKenna's oath was administered by Attorney Mary Burgwinkle.
(Video: Sean McKenna for Council)
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp then administered the oath to Barry Goode, who won re-election for a 4-year term to represent the First and Fourth Ward.
Outgoing Council President Joylette Mills-Ransome nominated Fourth Ward Councilman Steve Hockaday as Council President, receiving unanimous approval. Judge Carl Marshall administered the oath.
In his remarks, Hockaday thanked Mills-Ransome for her stellar leadership as 2019 Council President, and pledged a new era of cooperation and productivity in government.
Under new leadership, Hockaday said, “All voices will be heard, all opinions welcome, all points of view will be appreciated and respected,” referencing the current development at the Station of Grant Avenue, and indicating the Fourth Ward is on also the rise as an unprecedented revival of the city takes place.
Mayor Mapp noted that “the State of the City was strong,” providing an abbreviated version of the address to be delivered on March 26. Citing the year-long celebration in 2019 of Plainfield’s 100th and 150th Anniversary events, Mapp went on to mention the lower crime rates and high investment activity taking place in the city. Plainfield’s participation at the 2019 Conference of Mayors, which resulted in two awards, was also mentioned.
Councilman Elton Armady was unanimously approved to be this year's Council Vice President.
With the new Council in place, agenda items were quickly approved. Councilwoman Ashley Davis and McKenna questioned the large percentage increases in resolution 031-20 authorizing the adoption of temporary budget appropriations for the first quarter of 2020.
Finance Director Ron West explained that the funds, previously approved in the 2019 budget process, were being transferred from Finance to the Communications and Technology Department for programs like Cisco training that are no longer under the purview of the Finance Department.
McKenna also requested clarification from Corporation Counsel David Minchello regarding the increase in legal fees for the first quarter of 2020; Minchello explained this is a standard process, with most of the budget being allocated early in the year as the city enters into contracts for legal services with vendors.
The next city council meeting will take place on Tuesday, Jan 21. The meeting takes place in Municipal Court at 325 Watchung Ave and meets at 7 p.m.
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