The meeting is 7 p.m. May 31 in City Hall Library and the two items of business are selecting a chairman and designating meeting dates.
Plainfield has about 38 places where liquor is dispensed, including social clubs, bars and restaurants and liquor stores. All the liquor license establishments are subject to review by the Police, Fire, Health and Inspections divisions. License holders must also meet state requirements before municipal approval. All licenses must be renewed annually and were formerly approved or denied by the seven-member City Council.
Earlier this year, the governing body approved a change to a three-member ABC board, as allowed by state law. In 2014, the change was blocked by then-Council President Bridget Rivers, who wanted the council to retain control. In 2015, she voted approval of a controversial night club which has since gone out of business.
This year, she joined in unanimous votes on two readings to pass the ordinance for the three-person board.
The three ABC board members were approved unanimously in April. Initial nominees have staggered terms. Successors will all have three-year terms. The ordinance also requires one of the three to be of the opposite political party. They are:
- James Perry, who cites extensive board service on his resume in addition to being the founding Chief Financial Officer of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority, serving from 1996 to 2013. His board affiliations include 23 years with Union County College,and 28 years with King's Daughters Day School. He was former chair of the Plainfield Redevelopment Authority and a founding member of the Plainfield Business Development Corp. A Democrat, he is nominated for the initial three-year term.
- David Graves, a repairer with the State of New Jersey, having previous managerial and technical positions in entertainment and manufacturing. Though not noted on his resume, Graves is well-known for community activities as well. He is a Democrat and is nominated for the two-year term.
- Oscar Riba, who is now vice president of Two Sigma Investments, LLC but who gained knowledge of ABC regulations as owner/operator of a New York bar for a decade ending in 2012. According to the resolution, he is a Republican and is nominated for a one-year initial term.
License renewals are supposed to take place by June 30, but a few license holders miss the deadline every year. The board may also have to schedule hearings past the deadline in case of denials.
(I will not be able to attend the May 31 meeting, as it coincides with the League of Women Voters' Primary Candidates Forum at Emerson School, but will post a follow-up on the chairman and meeting schedule.)