From Plainfield City Hall
  Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
One Plainfield.  One Future.
 
We are all happy that Winter Storm Juno decided not to show up in Plainfield last Tuesday.  My administration worked around the clock to ensure the streets would be safe and all emergency resources were ready for the residents of Plainfield.

Many exciting things have happened since I last communicated with you! I am pleased to share my new information, updates, as well as other useful information.



Creating One Plainfield - One Future,

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp
City of Plainfield
United States Conference of Mayors - 83rd Winter Meeting
No longer a freshman Mayor, I attended the informative U.S. Conference of Mayors held at the White House January 21-23, 2015.

President Obama delivered remarks at the conference. Here is my synopsis of the Conference topic related to Public Safety:

Strengthening Police-Community Relations in America's Cities
The recent events surrounding Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, Rafael Ramos and New York City policeman Wenjian Liu (or other officers lost in the line of duty) be lost in a set of statistics.  A report developed by a working group of mayors and police chiefs appointed by the U.S Conference of Mayors provides a series of recommendations.  These recommendations are Grouped into six areas, the following are highlights of the recommendations:
  • Building Trust Between Police and Community
    • Police officers need to interact on a daily basis with the community to develop credibility and establish an ongoing dialogue with residents, including those with whom they disagree, to help keep incidents from becoming a crisis.
    • Community policing must be much more than one officer forming a relationship; it involves making inroads in the most challenged areas. 
  • Improving Police Department Practices
    • Departments need to review recruiting and hiring practices to ensure they are reflective of the community they serve.
    • Training should cover more than the procedures of policing. It should help police officers understand their role in a democratic society - how to engage in constitutional policing.
  • Ensuring Timely and Accurate Communications
    • Departments should have procedures in place to ensure that communications will be timely, transparent, honest, and as accurate as possible.
    • It is important to take into account optics - how things look.
  • Conducting Independent Investigations of Deaths Relating to Police Encounters
    • To increase public confidence, police departments should call an independent or outside investigators and agencies when a death occurs during an encounter with a police officer.
  • Addressing Racial and Economic Disparities and Community Frustration with Distrust of Governmental Institutions
    • Ensure that local human rights and human relations commissions are functioning in communities and are focused on police-community relations.
  • Providing National Leadership
    • The Federal government must increase its financial support to local police departments that can be used for hiring officers, providing them needed training and equipment, and improving practices.
  Stay tuned for further conference information in the next few weeks. 
 
New Jersey Conference of Mayors
As the Mayor of Plainfield, I am a member of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors.                    This organization provides Mayors in the state of New Jersey the opportunity to meet and discuss  issues that face them on a local level and how national and statewide issues may impact their communities.  My Chief of Staff represented me at the NJ Conference of Mayors meeting which was held in Trenton on January 29, 2015. 

Opening remarks were made by our old friend and past Director of Public Works and Urban Development, Eric Jackson, who is now Mayor of Trenton.

New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) opened the meeting with remarks about the importance of being Mayor and while emphasized the following points: Mayors are on the front lines and whenever there is an issue, people go to them first; Legislators are not sought out by the community and constituents the way Mayors are, especially from a volume perspective; Because of the connection to the local level, Mayors make the best legislators.

The Speaker spoke at length about the NJ Transportation Trust Fund and how it can be replenished.  Funds for the Trust will be depleted at the end of this year.  According to the the Speaker, "The state has borrowed and refinanced - the can is so big, you can no longer kick it down the road any further."  He pointed out that the State's infrastructure is in need of repairs and that Mayors have to work together on the right legislation to help save the Transportation Trust Fund. 
 
One of the ideas I have to help replenish the Transportation Trust Fund is to examine how our current infrastructure is used by the transport of goods via large trucks.  Since these trucks are engines that fuel our state and local economy, charging a fee for every container that is picked up and dropped off would help  sustain our local economies.  I attended a meeting of the Raritan Valley Coalition on January 26, 2015 where State Assemblyman Wisniewski made some interesting points in his presentation on the Transportation Trust Fund.
 New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney spoke about the economy and expresses disappointment in our Governor for his recent appointment of an emergency manager for Atlantic City. He perceives this move as an indication  Christie's administration wants the resort to declare bankruptcy. There have been eight bond rating downgrades. The primary concern is that the administration hired two bankruptcy experts to come in and "assist" Atlantic City. According to Sweeney, these moves indicate a belief that the municipality is headed for bankruptcy.  The Senate President firmly state that we cannot let this happen and if it does, which municipality is next?  It is important to note that the Christie Administration has made no announcement of Atlantic City's declaring bankruptcy.      

Stay tuned for further state issues that may impact Plainfield. 
 
The President's Executive Order on Immigration - Seminar
My administration will keep residents connected to federal issues that impact our Plainfield families.  On November 20, 2014, President Obama announced his executive order on immigration that will have a profound impact on some of the more than 40% Latino population here in the City of Plainfield.

Forty residents came out on the evening of January 28, 2015, and attended a  seminar and discussion on The President's Executive Order on Immigration.
   
The presentation was led by attorney Patrick McGuiness.  The discussion centered around work permit eligibility, and how it impacts parents of U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents,  Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).  Details including changes to the DREAMERS -Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was also an important topic of discussion. 

The audience was very engaged, took note of important points, and asked many questions.  By a show of hands, all participants indicated they want additional seminars on the Presidents Executive Order on Immigration. 
Stay tuned for further seminars and announcements covering Immigration Reform. 
 
Workforce Development
One of the most crucial issues facing the nation and the City of Plainfield is employment. As we all know so well, many Plainfield residents have been challenged by the task of finding employment over the past several years. However, the unemployment rate has dropped nationally as well as here in Plainfield.  I'm proud   
to note that Plainfield's unemployment rate has shown vast improvement, dropping 4.6 percent from Jan. 2014 to Nov. 2014.                    
My administration will continue to focus on improving this important quality of life issue for Plainfield residents through our partnerships with the New Jersey Department of Labor, Edison Job Corp, US Postal Service, FedEx, and the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick.

Here are some current employment opportunities from our partners:
(Click on links below for information for job descriptions and how to apply) 
      
USPS
(U.S. Postal Service)
Hyatt Regency New Brunswick
 
For more information contact: John Stewart at 908-226-2509 or john.stewart@plainfieldnj.gov  

Edison Job Corp Partnership
My administration will be rolling out a Plainfield job training program in partnership with the Edison Job Corp in the immediate future. This program will benefit individuals in need of training and development. On Monday, February 2, 2015, the Edison Job Corp will be sending us several students who will serve as volunteers for one day at City Hall, these volunteers will get exposure to administrative and other duties in various divisions.   
 
Department of Public Works & Urban Development Update
Winter Storm Juno  
I am pleased to inform you that the Department of Public Works and Urban Development worked around the clock to ensure the public's safety on our roads.  I also want to thank all the residents for their cooperation in preparing for this storm and following the snow parking rules.   Here is a breakdown of my administration's efforts:

Summary:

The City prepared for heavy snow accumulations. All 30 pieces of snow and de-icing equipment was prepared and used during the weather event. Twenty-seven (27) DPW employees were assigned to various aspects of snow detail. Snow totals were approximately 4-5 inches. Over 102 mile of roads, Municipal lots, Recreation sites and City owned properties received snow removal. Two hundred twenty-five (225) tons of salt, 1500 gallons of liquid brine and 500 gallons of calcium chloride were used.

 

The Division handled the storm in 4 phases:

 

Phase-(1) 72 hours before the storm:

Weather outlets were monitored for up- to-date forecasting.

  • Equipment was prepared and personnel were put on notice of impending weather.
  • A Status report of materials and supplies was prepared.
  • An O.E.M. meeting was scheduled to review emergency plans.

 

Phase- (2) 12-6 hours before the storm:

  • Crews started anti-icing operations. Trucks equipped with liquid brine dispensers and calcium chloride applied over 2000 gallons to emergency routes and primary roadways.
  • 6-Hours before the storm; crews started de-icing operations with dry salt to the secondary and tertiary streets. Applied over 175 tons.
  • Granular salt was applied to sidewalks at Municipal buildings, Recreation sites and City owned properties.

 

Phase- (3) during the storm up to 2 inches:

  • Crews continued to salt roadways as necessary.
  • Responded to emergency request from Police Dispatch.

 

Phase-(4) Plowing operations commence in excess of 2 inches:

  • Plow crews were assigned to each of the ten service areas.
  • Crews plowed over 102 miles of roadway, all Municipal lots and Recreation sites.
  • Crews continued until all roads, municipal lots and recreation sites were plowed.
 

Zoning Board of Adjustment 
The Zoning Board of Adjustment consists of volunteer board members.                    I appreciate their dedication and the hours spent as they proceed to support the City's Master Plan, while working with Zoning Board applicants.  The Zoning Board recently accomplished the following 
  • On January 22, the Zoning Board held their reorganization meeting and re-elected Scott Belin as Chairman, and Alejandro Ruiz as Vice Chairman.  They also adopted their annual calendar.
  • The board heard testimony regarding the use variance application of Plainfield Madison Park, LLC to construct a six-story mixed-use commercial -  residential building with 69 parking spaces that will contain 12,821 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, and five floors of 100 age restricted residential apartments (80 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom units) at 305-323 East Front Street.

Administration and Finance
2015 CommunityWins Grant Program 
I will continue my commitment to promoting economic growth in Plainfield by applying for the 2015 CommunityWins Grant Program (Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization) through an eligible local nonprofit organization. The grant program is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), Wells Fargo Bank and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

 

I will nominate up to three eligible local nonprofit organizations for this competitive grant program. The Application deadline is March 15, 2015. The goal of the program is to assist cities with the opportunity to invest, strengthen, and promote long-term economic prosperity.

Local non-profit organizations must have an eligible program that address one of the following categories:

  • Neighborhood stabilization - projects designed to stimulate growth, stability, and assist in removing blight and rebuilding communities
  • Economic development - projects designed to promote business development
  • Job creation - projects to aid in local job creation or assist in job training

The programs will be initiated with the full support of my office. If your organization is interested in the development and implementation of this outstanding program initiative, please contactEthel M. Washington, Grants Manager, City of Plainfield.  Phone: 908-753-2501 or email ethel.washington@plainfieldnj.gov

Community Relations and Social Services   
For some of our email subscribers who may be curious as to why is there a "social services" update under Administration and Finance. Social Services organizations placed under the Administrative and Finance Department as per the Plainfield City Charter.   I believe in providing tools and resources to help the residents of Plainfield who may need assistance in tough times - especially in the areas that impact our families and homes.   

Utility and Rent Helps

If you need help with your utility bills or rent - you may qualify for assistance.
Tax Preparation   

Tax filing deadline is fast approaching.  If you need assistance preparing your tax return, Plainfield Action Services, in partnership with the HOPES CAP organization, will be offering free tax preparation services. 
Weatherization 
If you are struggling to pay your energy bill, you may be eligible for help from the WAP (Weatherization Assistance Program). WAP is the nation's core program
 for the delivery of energy efficiency services to low income households. Their goal is to reduce energy costs, improve energy efficiency of homes while ensuring health and safety.   
Click here for more information.

If you have questions concerning any of these three programs:
Contact Plainfield Action Services at
908-753-3519. 
Public Affairs and Safety Update
Winter Storm Juno  
Public Safety is a top priority of my administration!  The Department of Public Safety was out in the community and prepared to help in any way possible during the storm.  I would like to thank the many residents of the City for their cooperation as my administration prepared for the potential blizzard.  Cars were moved from the roadways in a timely fashion which enabled the Department of Public Works to successfully clear the roads for emergency responses.  I ask for the residents' continued cooperation as we continue through the winter season. 
Economic Development Update
Local Plainfield Business - Sign and Facade Grant
I am pleased to announce that Farmers Insurance, a new Plainfield business located in the heart of downtown Plainfield,  immediately took advantage of the UEZ (Urban Enterprise Zone) program by obtaining the UEZ certification. This opens the door for the Sign and Facade UEZ funding for his store front sign. Farmer's Insurance opened at 110 East Fourth Street. We will soon perform a ribbon cutting ceremony to formally welcome them into the Plainfield business community.

Service Providers Directory
The Office of Economic Development has produced a Plainfield service providers directory.   This comprehensive directory will serve as a much needed resource for the residents of Plainfield, and will list all of the service providers in our city along with their contact information.  The Service Providers Directory is expected to be ready for distribution in the next three weeks. The complete directory will be available on our city website, hard copies in both English and Spanish will be distributed to our Service Providers and major churches (Pastor's Office). 
Stay tuned for the announcement and link to to the Service Provider Directory on the Plainfield City Website.
Arts and Culture
Plainfield Public Library - "Rhythm and Praise" Photography Exhibit  
The Brian Price Photography Exhibit showcases the Epic Journey of Black Gospel music.
  
Date: January 24 thru March 28, 2015 
Location: Plainfield Public Library 
800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060 
Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM in the Anne Louise Davis Gallery

Plainfield Symphony Society 
One of the cultural gems here in the City of Plainfield is the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra which is the oldest symphony in the state of New Jersey.   Some fulfilled events have been scheduled to warm up our winter months.  We invite you to join the Plainfield Symphony Society for the After Dinner Dance later this month. 
Resources
Educating Our Kids on Different Careers
Often times we have an opportunity to speak to our children about
their interests and related careers.  Many of our children are interested in animals and wildlife and what a perfect opportunity to share this informative video about Federal Wildlife Officers from the website www.kids.gov.    

Federal Wildlife Officer - Career Spotlight
Federal Wildlife Officer - Career Spotlight

Issuing Complaints with a Communications Service: 

Have an Issue with a Communications Service? It's Now Easier to File a  
Complaint. Last week the FCC debuted a new online Consumer Help Center designed to make it easier for you to file complaints and get responses about your concerns. Once you file  you can also monitor and track its status 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Complaint categories are broken down by service: TV, phone, Internet, and radio. If you're considering making a complaint, here is what happens once you file.


The FCC handles issues specifically related to communications. If you have a consumer complaint for another area, the Consumer Action Handbook can help you resolve it, as well as provide valuable information on being a smart consumer and avoiding scams and frauds.



Until Next Time
Stay warm and have a great weekend!