When I ran for my seat on the Plainfield City Council nearly a year ago, part of my platform was to work with my council colleagues to get pay-to-play reform passed in Plainfield. For a number of reasons, "politics" and an unwillingness to upset the status quo chief among them, prior councils had not taken up serious reform measures. Instead, we got weak excuses and double-talk, and nothing got done. These ordinances have the potential to change the way business is conducted in Plainfield, and to provide opportunities for other vendors to bid for contracts in a way that is ethical, fair, open, and honest.
In a January 23, 2011 blog post, Time to Stand and Deliver, I reiterated my intentions to follow through on my campaign statements:
As your new councilor, I want to restate my goals as your public servant for the next four years. My service on the Plainfield City Council will be focused on good government. We are all aware of the issues facing Plainfield, and my pledge to you is that I will do my best to make sure that all Plainfield residents can feel safe and secure in their persons and in their homes; that Plainfield will work seriously on economic revitalization; that residents receive a proper accounting of how our tax money is spent; that Plainfield passes the strongest municipal pay-to-play reform ordinance possible; that developers adhere to contracts they have entered into with the city (I am thinking here of the Senior Citizens Center/Veterans Center); and that Plainfield abolishes the "preferred vendor" status and opens true competitive bidding for all public contracts (which will save taxpayers money).
In addition, on March 30, I wrote a blog post on one of the related ordinances regarding insurance reform: Insurance Reform May Save Plainfield Taxpayers Millions: The Citizens' Campaign Model Ordinance
This year, the governing body finally has enough votes to get four municipal reform ordinances passed. Councilman Cory Storch introduced these ordinances and, in two recent blog posts, has detailed how important the reforms are:
Eliminate the Invisible Tax on Plainfield Residents
It is estimated that New Jersey residents pay upwards of 15-20% more for services in the form of padded contracts which are often awarded to vendors in exchange for making contributions to politicians. I hope folks will ask that their councilors support these ordinances, which have the potential to save Plainfielders money.
Now is the time to get it done. It is in the interest of Plainfield residents to urge all seven of your councilors to vote in favor of these reform ordinances. Hold us accountable. We have the votes to put these measures through, but I would rather it be a unanimous vote (all 7 voting in favor). That would clearly demonstrate that we are public servants in the best sense of that phrase.
I will be voting YES.