Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ordinance Veto Override Not Happening Monday

A controversial ordinance to convey city property to the Housing Authority will not be up for final passage Monday.

All six City Council members - Vera Greaves, William Reid, Rebecca Williams, Cory Storch, Gloria Taylor and President Bridget Rivers - declined to move it to the Sept. 8 agenda. Councilwoman Tracey Brown was absent.

The consensus followed some tricky turns. Councilman Cory Storch first asked to have Corporation Counsel Vernita Sias-Hill to speak about the ordinance, but Rivers said Mayor Adrian O. Mapp had already given a very comprehensive overview "and so did she," referring to Sias-Hill. She dismissed the request as "just wasting time."

Rivers said she was making a motion to table the ordinance and called for a second. But the council cannot vote at an agenda-fixing session, so no one seconded her motion. The consensus was then taken.

The outcome was surprising in view of Rivers' intense effort to push the ordinance along after it was submitted by Housing Authority Executive Director Randall Wood. She pooh-poohed Sias-Hill's concerns last month as just "a bunch of statements" and previously rejected Wood's attempt to withdraw the ordinance.

Among Mapp's objections, neither the Housing Authority nor its development arm, Plainfield Community Development Corporation, had passed complementary resolutions to the city ordinance. In addition, the city tax collector discovered that the ordinance included a privately-owned parcel across the street from the city-owned lots to be conveyed to the Housing Authority.

But as the saying goes, it ain't over till it's over, so stay tuned for further developments.



  1. Maybe she was gonna get a free unit?

  2. I've never been supportive of jamming this conveyance down Plainfield's throat, for both the attempt to circumvent the process of the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law, and the unspoken conflicts-of-interest between some of the parties. In that regard I'm happy the mayor's veto will stand, at least for the moment, though I'm miffed that following all the hoopla leading up to last night's Council action-by-inaction, no commentary was put forward to explain the sudden volta-face.

    The East 2nd St. revitalization discussion that preceded the Block 247 retreat provided an opportunity for some Council members to grandstand about a program that lay dormant for the last three years of the previous City Administration. Economic Development was never a front-burner concern in the years gone by, and by all accounts was handled rather ineptly, when handled at all.

    The large turnout by neighbors and stakeholders from East 2nd, shows the desire and need for a comprehensive initiative of redevelopment and rehabilitation, neighborhood by neighborhood, and citywide. As Councilman Cory Storch noted, it will require more than just streetscaping, and more funding than the City can reasonably offer by itself.

    It can be done though, both East 2nd and the Block 247 lots, with ample planning and less emotion. The first step to sustainable, not just cosmetic, improvement, will be for the Council and Mapp Administration to begin the process towards adoption of a redevelopment plan for each of the areas. I'd like to see these on the October agenda so the Planning Board can take the first steps. Nothing more, and nothing less.

  3. I'm confused over a technical issue. If the council can't "vote" at an agenda session than how do they arrive at a "consensus"?

    Also, can the council president make a motion? (That's really an olddoc parliamentary question).

  4. This council is like a communist run meeting. The council president doesn't like something - poof! you are gagged.

    Where is corporation council on Roberts Rules? Can't she provide some order.

    This isn't the wild west - it's gag and torture.

  5. I believe the presiding officer can call for a motion but not make the motion. Also, votes cannot be taken at Agenda sessions. This is to prevent any binding action being taken when the public is not informed in advance. The proper step is to get a sense of the Council in how they prefer to proceed. In this case, the sense ( consensus) was to agree that the ordinance will be tabled at the next meeting. However, I'm not sure that is possible. I seem to recall that they have to vote for or against the ordinance. If they vote it down, it can be introduced again with whatever changes are needed to overcome the deficiencies.

    1. The consensus was not to move it to the Sept. 8 agenda.

  6. Sorry - with all the wrangling over the ordinance, I lost track of the fact that they were at the veto override stage, not the ordinance approval stage.

  7. Michael Townley is right--the presiding officer can call for a motion, e.g., "Is there a motion..." but cannot make one