Wednesday, July 13, 2016

City Will Ask State Legislature To Change Charter

Nearly three years after an elected Charter Study Commission recommended changes to Plainfield's 1968 special charter, the city intends to petition the State Legislature to act on the recommendations.

A small legal notice in today's newspaper sets forth the intention.

CORPORATION NOTICE CITY OF PLAINFIELD NOTICE OF INTENTION TO PETITION THE LEGISLATURE TAKE NOTICE that The City Council of the city of Plainfield intends to petition the New Jersey State Legislature for the passage of a special law to amend the Plainfield Charter (1968), as set forth in P.L. 1968, c. 159, pursuant to Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 10 of the Constitution of 1947 in accordance with the procedures established by P.L. 1948, c.199 (C.1:6-10 et seq.). The special law shall make the changes to Plainfield Charter (1968) suggested by the Plainfield Charter Study Commission in its Amended Final Report dated December 31, 2013, which changes were approved by the Plainfield City Council in Ordinance MC 2014-10, An Ordinance to Accept the Final Report of the Plainfield Charter Study Commission and Forwarding to the New Jersey Legislature for Action, finally passed on May 12, 2014. The changes to Plainfield Charter (1968) to be made as a result of the special law are set forth at length in the Plainfield Charter Study Commission Amended Final Report dated December 31, 2015, which is on file at the Office of the City Clerk of Plainfield, 515 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060. Abubakar T. Jalloh, R.M.C. Plainfield Municipal Clerk

The study itself took more than eight months of intensive work starting in January 2013. All the minutes as well as the final amended report are still online at the Plainfield Charter Study Commission blog.

The commissioners - Mary Burgwinkle, John Stewart, Rick Smiley, Marie Davis and Jeanette Criscione -were elected in the November 2012 general election, but results were delayed by effects of Superstorm Sandy.  The commission held an organizational meeting in December 2012 and had nine months to do its work.

See Plaintalker's report on results in August 2013
Recommendations included the following:

-Title of City Administrator to become Business Administrator
- Gender inclusiveness in all references
- Align language with state statutes
- City Clerk to be appointed by council
- Mayor must be a registered voter and a resident for four years immediately prior to the date of election
- Leeway to add departments to the three currently mandated by the charter
- Retain prohibition on dual office-holding
- Provision for a legislative aide to the council

While other municipalities can make governmental changes at the local level, Plainfield's charter was enacted by special state legislation and can only be changed the same way.


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