Sunday, June 29, 2014

Mapp Answers Q&A on Jackson's Successor

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp has responded to my request for a Q&A on Eric Jackson's successor. Jackson, the city's director of Public Works & Urban Renewal since September 2011, won the May 10 mayoral runoff election in Trenton and will take office July 1.

Jackson was so popular and highly regarded here that he was asked to stay on in his post after Mayor Mapp took office on Jan. 1. Among his accomplishments were several departmental improvements, such as a review of the capital improvement process. He also oversaw the renovation of City Hall, including restoration of the original 1917 seal on the rotunda floor. Working with several commissions, he planned and executed a transformation of the grounds of City Hall as well, a visible legacy that all can admire and enjoy.

Here is Mayor Mapp's response:

Will you be making a search for a new Public Works & Urban Development director now that Eric Jackson has become mayor of Trenton? Yes, I will be advertising for Eric Jackson’s replacement very shortly.
The department has two aspects, one being Public Works (maintenance of roads and fields and seasonal tasks such as snow removal and various pickups}. But the Urban Development aspect is now front-and-center with the Transit Village designation, new TOD zones and a cabinet-level director for economic development who will rely on Planning to work with developers. In light of this, what talents or skills will you seek in candidates for the PW&UD post at this juncture? Eric’s replacement has to be a highly skilled professional, preferably with an engineering background and some urban planning experience. The person must be able to hit the ground running. The individual must have very good communication skills and must be able to communicate in an assertive and effective manner with the governing body and the public.
This is an advice-and-consent position. How soon do you hope to present a nominee to the council? My goal is to nominate a candidate for advice and consent within the next 30 – 60 days.



  1. I'm sure Jerry has someone perfectly incompetent that he would like his City Council to put into the position.

  2. One more Mapp administration disappointment. There should have been a plan "A" in place as soon as Jackson was no longer available. A replacement could not have been sought as long as Jackson was on "leave', but how effective is having Smiley fill that position as well as City Administrator?

    1. Olddoc: you seem to contradict yourself in your "disappointment". First you say, "A replacement could not have been sought as long as Jackson was on "leave'". But then you say, "There should have been a plan "A" in place as soon as Jackson was no longer available." I don't see why you are disappointed? There is clearly a "Plan" in place. The plan is to search for a replacement for Jackson. Would you have been less disappointed if Mayor Mapp had wasted taxpayer's money conducting a search for a position that was not officially vacant yet? What if Jackson had not prevailed in winning his election in Trenton? In terms of who is running the division while we wait for a replacement, who has been running it while Jackson was on leave? Has the operation fallen apart during that time? What makes you think that they will fall apart? I am not saying that they will not fall apart eventually without proper dedicated leadership, but what evidence do you have that it will happen within the next 30-60 days? I would like to think that Mr. Jackson developed appropriate short-term and long-term plans that his staff can continue to follow in his absence until a replacement shows up. Mr. Jackson is a man of integrity and would not have left the City of Plainfield in a situation without any direction in the area of public works. I am sure that Mr. Smiley if more than capable of overseeing the work of the deputy or assistant director of DPW that has been continuing the work of the department so far.

    2. Since the likelihood of Jackson being elected was high, there should have been an advertisement for the position as soon as the election was over or Jackson submitted his resignation. The position is more than "overseeing" which is what made Jackson so effective. Did you notice what happened to the way behind 2006 street re-pavement plan after he took the position? Do you know how much it cost Plainfield for its half of Cushing Roads re-pavement? Saved us bundles of dollars.

    3. I agree with you Doc. The Mayor should have been thinking about likely successors before this. He could have had some thoughts of people who he felt were qualified, as well as advertising the second Jackson was elected.

      He does tend to not lolly gag - so we shall see. I do believe he will have someone sooner rather than later.

  3. Doc, I agree with you 100%.

  4. Dottie GutenkaufJuly 1, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    Ah, but if our mayor finds someone well-qualified and proposes his/her name to the council, will they approve the appointment? We'll have to wait and see, I guess...