PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp has named his cabinet for his second four-year term and seeks City Council consent on Monday, Feb. 12.
The meeting is 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, 325 Watchung Ave.
Mapp is asking advice and consent to these appointments:
- Carlos N. Sanchez as city administrator.
- David L. Minchello as Corporation Counsel.
- Ronald E. West as director of Administration & Finance, Health & Social Services
- Carl N. Riley as director of Public Affairs & Safety
- Oren K. Dabney Sr. as director of Public Works & Urban Development
Sanchez was previously the deputy city administrator for Economic Development during Mapp’s first term. He replaces R. Allen Smiley as city administrator.
Monday’s agenda also includes Mapp’s announcement of Jazz Clayton-Hunt as his new chief of staff, replacing John Stewart Jr. That appointment does not require City Council consent.
Regarding the proposed vet home, the need for veterans’ housing and services is made clear in this post about another facility, from the state’s Division of Military and Veterans’ Affairs. A likely question at Monday’s City Council meeting is whether it should be addressed in a city-owned building in the Putnam-Watchung Historic District.
The proposed program, which would start after the site formerly known as Dudley House undergoes over $400,000 in renovations, would serve about 15 men at a time. The building formerly housed men in recovery from substance abuse, many of whom told an earlier council how the program saved their lives.
But residents of another historic district where a vets’ home is proposed have argued that it’s not the right location and that Plainfield has way more than its fair share of social service programs. Conversely, Stephen Rother, the attorney for the Yates House for Military Veterans in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, has said at numerous meetings of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Historic Preservation Commission that three civil rights laws guarantee needy veterans the right to live “in neighborhoods of their choice.”
Unlike the Yates case, which has involved testimony from expert witnesses in many fields, the matter before the council Monday is simply to hire the engineering firm Pennoni Associates Inc. for $54,000 to plan and oversee over $400,000 in renovations to Dudley House. Once the building is ready, a local homeless prevention agency, HomeFirst, is expected to operate the program.
Dudley House failed to meet state licensing requirements and was closed in 2008. After it was later made ADA-compliant, its substance abuse recovery program was administered by an outside agency which paid rent to the city for the building. The proposed vets’ home use would address the problems of homelessness and other needs of veterans. Anyone wishing to speak on it before the council vote can refer to item R 097-18 in the portion for public comments on resolutions.