The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Monday, June 24, 2013

Together As One - Community-Building in Plainfield

L to R: Michael Simmons Jr., Kcory Woltz, Hampton Pringley, Nigel Townsend, Lionel Leach, and Chinedum Ehiobouche.
 I was one of the honorees this past Saturday at "The Harvest," The First Annual scholarship Celebration of the Together As One Foundation (TAOF). The cocktail hour, with cool beverages and wine, took place in the main area of It's A Wrap Cafe, where folks gathered to meet, chat,and much on the delicious hors d'oeuvres and crudites made by Chef David. I met the families of the young scholarship recipients--all were beaming with pride. 

Reb with Fire Chief Frank Tidwell

Several Plainfielders came out in support of the event, including Fire Chief Frank Tidwell, Councilman Cory Storch, several members of the Plainfield-based Youth Organization for Unity, whose tickets were sponsored by Councilman Adrian Mapp, and several educators, past and present. 


Mrs. Dorothy Henry with Baron Hilliard
A special delight to Baron Hilliard, one of the founders (along with Andrea Woody of AW Financial Solutions, Michael Chisholm, and Tsihai Hanson), was the presence of Mrs. Dorothy Henry, the former principal of Woodland Elementary School, which he attended--he told a wonderful story about growing up in Plainfield with supportive and vigilant neighbors like Mrs. Henry, who was more than an educator, but also a deeply community-minded woman. 

Reading the City Council resolution

After cocktails, we headed downstairs to the banquet hall for the formal aspect of the evening. After introductions and brief remarks by the TAOF founders, the honorees (David T. Holmes, Okang McBride, Greater Jack and Jill of Union County, along with yours truly) accepted our awards. I also read the Plainfield City Council Resolution which was adopted by the unanimous council to commend and congratulate TAOF. 

Baron, Michael, Lawrence Hibbert, Tishai, and Andrea
Additional certificates were given to the mentors of the young scholars for their hard work and dedication. The keynote speaker, Lawrence Hibbert of BCT Partners, fired up the audience was a dazzling speech focused on empowerment and perseverance, and then we came to the high point of the evening, which was the awarding of the scholarships. 

The young men, Chinedum Ehiobouche, Lionel Leach, Hampton Pringley, Michael Simmons Jr., Nigel Townsend, and Kcory Woltz, graciously accepted their scholarships and took the TAOF pledge which, in part, spoke to remaining focused on their studies, maintaining relationships with their mentors, and keeping the "village" concept in the forefront of their minds, in terms of being models to the next generation. 

The entire audience then came together and we recited a pledge of support to these young people. It was a wonderful moment, and many in attendance were deeply moved. The fun then continued with the tricky tray, door prizes, and desserts. It was a blast the entire time, and the success of this year's event will produce even greater things next year.

All best,


Photos courtesy of Mike of EG Photography

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Full Disclosure

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed 
that will not be known or brought out into the open. (Luke 8:17)

As the noise increases (not from the cicadas but, rather, from the excited buzz around city hall) in the waning days of the lame-duck administration, it is important that we remain vigilant about any attempts to pad the payroll with salary increases for selected individuals and mayoral favorites and friends. It would be unconscionable to have this happen when the residents of this city have made it clear that we need to tighten our belts.

To that end, I requested that the administration provide me with copies of all Personnel Action forms issued or signed since January of this year. I am particularly interested in seeing those signed within the past few weeks, i.e., after the primary results which confirmed an end to the administration of the current mayor at the end of this year. Often, the losing side of a political campaign attempts to "hook up" their friends and supporters with additional perks before they ride off to oblivion. 

You, the taxpayers, should be aware of any unusual promotions or excessive salary increases and voice your concerns (and/or outrage) if you find anything out of the ordinary. The only way that you can be aware is through the vigilance of your elected council representatives. 

In the budget given to us by the administration, the mayor attempted to give a 15% increase (yes, fifteen percent!) to her confidential aide with no explanation, among other things. In these financially tight times, it behooves the council to guard the public purse from imperious excesses. We already know that this mayor is a profligate spender of money that is not hers, and it is our fiduciary responsibility to ensure that she does not create personnel challenges for the incoming administration and council by saddling us with problems as she moves on to whatever it is that she plans to do with her time when she leaves office.

I will keep you apprised of my progress.

All best,


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

City Council Town Hall Meeting TONIGHT


Wednesday, June 19, 2013 – 7:00 PM

Jefferson Elementary School

1750 West Front Street

Our final town hall meeting is scheduled for Wednesday (THIS EVENING) at Jefferson Elementary School, located at 1750 West Front Street, in Plainfield's 4th Ward. These informal meetings offer you an opportunity to meet with all your council representatives and to share your thoughts and concerns about our city.
The atmosphere is more convivial than that of the formal meetings of the governing body, and there will also be representation from the administration to take questions. All topics are welcome, from economic development, PMUA, code enforcement, public safety, the fate of the Muhlenberg campus, taxes, etc. Please come out and make your voice heard--we are here for you. I hope to see you there!
All best,



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Support Plainfield's "Harvest" at the Together As One Annual Scholarship Celebration

On Saturday, June 22, Plainfield's Together As One Foundation will be hosting its First Annual Scholarship Celebration, "The Harvest," in honor of their first class of six  Together As One Foundation scholars (all Plainfield young people) who will be attending college in the Fall of 2013. The organization will also be presenting a number of individuals and organizations with the "Village Hero" Award for their outstanding service to the community. I am honored to be among those receiving this award, along with David T. Holmes (owner of It's a Wrap), Okang McBride (Director of Alumni Relations at Fairleigh Dickinson University), and the Greater Union County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Lawrence T. Hibbert, Founder and President of BCT Partners will deliver the keynote address. I am a big supporter of Together As One, and I hope you will be as well. Tickets are only $50, and are tax-deductible.  Your contribution will go to providing additional scholarships for Plainfield youth!

 Enjoy great food, giveaways, raffles and music as we celebrate Chinedum Ehiobouche, Lionel Leach, Hampton Pringley, Michael Simmons Jr., Nigel Townsend, and Kcory Woltz. 

"The Harvest" takes place June 22 (5:30pm - 9:30pm) at the It's A Wrap Cafe Banquet Hall located at 631 Park Avenue in Plainfield. Click here for tickets and more info!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Revisiting Plainfield's Transit Village Designation

This article, from the Courier-News, focuses on yesterday's (Jun 10, 2013) Raritan Valley Rail Coalition meeting, which took place in Westfield. Click on the link, or just read the print version.

City finalizes bid for transit village: Plainfield looking to optimize rail link to spark downtown development