The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Willfully Misinforming the Public Harms Plainfield

Click below to watch the interview with Plainfield City Council President Annie McWilliams as she sets the record straight on Plainfield's Division of Recreation!


Over the weekend, I received a few emails from concerned residents who have been hearing rumors about Plainfield's summer camp programs for young people not being available. In addition, some residents thought that the city council took a vote to close the Recreation Division. I am just writing to reassure those residents who have been misinformed.

The recreation programs are fully funded, and the Recreation Division remains open. A few individuals in our city seem to enjoy spreading misinformation and outright lies to alarm the public. Self-interested demagogues continue to do so--this harms our entire community.

The city council took no such vote to close the Division of Recreation--in fact, it is just the reverse. The council voted to INCREASE funding for ALL the programs. Further, Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has a fiduciary as well as an ETHICAL responsibility to ensure that her administration follows the law and runs the recreation division, along with ALL the programs funded in the budget by the council. Anything less is completely unacceptable.

Council President McWilliams has called a press conference for Monday, March 21 at 6:00 pm at City Hall Library to correct the lies and reassure the residents that all programs will continue uninterrupted.
I am committed to funding all recreation programs--indeed, the council has increased the funding for this division. Please note that I was not on the council when the funding increase occurred, although I am in full support.

I am an educator--I teach full-time at Essex County College, and among my students are at-risk youth, whom I have mentored for years, so I am in full agreement that, in addition to our students receiving a quality education, they must also have some part in recreational activities.

I am glad that parents are getting involved in the recreational aspects of their childrens' lives. As an educator, I am hopeful that, as we correct the lies that are being spread through the rumor mill, more parents see recreation as just one component (along with educational excellence and mentoring) in the development of successful young people. 

We must all move forward together, but there must be true collaboration from the administration to do what is in the best interest of Plainfield's children. Scare tactics and divisiveness do nothing but harm the children in this city--I, for one, am disgusted by the outrageous attempt to willfully misinform residents.

All best,



  1. I think pointing out those in the administration who are vocally and without shame spreading these lies, half truths and misinformation while they are sitting there would only benefit the cause of spreading truth.
    I appreciate the efforts of the city council to remain about one persons hot-mess of management style, but to remain silent in an attempt to cling to professionalism and dignity you and the public will be the true losers in the end.
    Sometimes you need to bring the fight to those who insist on having it.

  2. Rebecca,

    While I have no proof, those who are most vocal about maintaining the Rec Dept as is, I would be, are seasonal employees. There is an 800K budget, and about 400 - 500K are for seasonal workers. So if there is any cutting of services IN TH FUTURE - because they have NOT currently been cut - perhaps all those concerned citizens who are for the children will volunteer - leaving MORE money for programs and kids.

  3. I believe this all started because the City Council could not come to an agreement about whether or not to amend the budget for the permanent staffing or implement the commission to govern the division of recreation. Your lack of cohesion resulted in the elimination of the director's role without having someone or something to take over his job responsibilities. It's really frustrating that you guys can talk about all the peripheral affects and what you did not do but completely ignore and avoid the core of the issue. Not even to mention the money for purchasing. You guys know it was a problem and I don't appreciate you not addressing it. But I guess this is politics and you guys are pretending not to play the game but are doing quite well.