Tonight the City Council will hold its last regular meeting for 2011, a year marking many innovations toward greater transparency in government.
City Clerk Abubakar Jalloh is the official keeper of city records and secretary to the governing body. He is also the person reporters and bloggers pester for background information on resolutions and ordinances so we can better inform the public of especially important legislation. By moving his office significantly into the digital age, AJ has done everyone a great service.
Despite some occasional glitches, bloggers have been able to read background documents on Saturdays before meetings by accessing a packet at the Plainfield Public Library. The titles of legislation on the agenda do not tell the whole story, and it is up to interested persons to delve into the sometimes voluminous paperwork to see what it is all about. Obviously, any member of the public can read the packet, but bloggers can then let readers know when significant expenditures or changes are about to be made, in case they want to weigh in by contacting their elected representatives or by speaking at the public meeting at which such matters will be up for discussion or voting.
Tonight's meeting, 8 p.m. in Municipal Court, is the last regular one for 2011. Next Monday, the council will hold an agenda-fixing session for the 2012 reorganization on Jan. 3 (not the reorganization itself, as is erroneously stated on the city web site). As a blogger, I look forward to continued innovation by the clerk's office in 2012, so that I and others can keep informing Plainfielders of pending legislation and changes in City Hall (such as the recent appointments of new cabinet members).
If you have never visited City Hall or when you are there to pay taxes, take a peek into the City Clerk's office and you will see both printed documents and a computer for looking up the Municipal Code, City Charter and other information online. The office has been redesigned to be more attractive and welcoming to the public. For all that and more, join the bloggers in saying a big thank you to City Clerk Abubakar "AJ" Jalloh.