Mapp Administration’s First 100 Days in Office
A Report to the Community
“One Plainfield, One Future”
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, marking his first 100 days in office, today released a report on the progress made toward accomplishing initiatives outlined at the beginning of his administration. The Mayor and his Administration are focused on four key areas -- fiscal responsibility, economic
development, public safety, and quality of life.
“My election last November was a clear mandate for change in Plainfield,” said Mapp. “There is much to do that cannot be completed in 100 days, but we have begun to lay a strong foundation for a bright future.”
ACHIEVING FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
Delivering an on-time budget
The Mayor submitted a fiscally responsible and balanced budget to the City Council on March 14, marking the first time an administration’s budget was submitted before the state-mandated deadline in 8 years. The proposed 2014 budget makes a significant investment in the education, health and safety of the citizens of Plainfield. It also responds to residents’ requests for enhanced public safety and invests in the rebranding and imaging of the City that is vital to attracting new business.
Appointing a finance team
Mayor Mapp appointed a new finance team led by Director of Administration, Finance, Health & Social Services Ron West. He also named Ulrich “Al” Steinberg as Chief Financial Officer to fill a 7- year vacancy in the state-mandated position. The Mayor has directed them to focus on bringing efficiency to Plainfield city government and providing Plainfield taxpayers with reliable, cost- effective services.
Completing a financial inventory
The Administration completed a financial inventory of capital ordinances with unspent funds and has requested authorization from the City Council to reallocate the funds to repair roads. An analysis is underway to identify unspent Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) capital
funding. Those funds will be assigned to current budget needs. All FEMA funding requests are being reconciled against FEMA payments and reconciliation of UEZ expenses and revenues is in progress.
An effort is underway to address all prior audit findings and recommendations to ensure our financial house is in order. Preparations are also underway to improve the financial rating of the City.
All PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) contracts and payment histories are under review, including the agreement for the Park Madison commercial properties, to determine if any payments are owed the City. All Tax Office escrow accounts are under review to make sure they are current, and plans are being created for handling City owned properties and tax liens to get the properties back on
the tax rolls. The first resolution has been submitted to the City Council for authorization to auction off 15 City-owned liens and over $25,000 in old escrow money added to the current account. Municipal Court staffing will be increased to improve its revenue generation capability.
Appointing Cabinet members
Mayor Mapp is building an open, accessible government led by a diverse and highly-skilled
Cabinet. He appointed Rick Smiley as City Administrator to lead a team that is bringing a new spirit of customer service, collaboration and innovation to City government.
Implementing a city-wide communication system
On February 3, the City of Plainfield began to utilize the NIXLE mass communication service in partnership with the city’s website (www.plainfieldnj.gov) and PCTV . This allows the Administration to send important and valuable information directly to residents and City employees via text messages and/or email, such as weather and traffic alerts, emergency and safety information, etc. Residents can receive text message alerts by opting in to the system.
Implementing the 311 call system
Beginning in May, Plainfield residents will be able to call 311 with a question or concern about a consumer financial product or service and be transferred directly to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), which can answer questions and accept complaints about mortgages, credit cards, bank accounts, private student loans, auto and other consumer loans, payday loans, debt collection, credit reports, and money transfers. The CFPB provides services in more than 180 languages and to consumers who are deaf, have hearing loss, or have speech disabilities.
Putting technology to work
The Administration is completing a city-wide rollout of the IQM2 application and has begun an overall technology assessment to determine how to meet the business requirements of the City,and improve performance at a lower cost. A review of Verizon billing is underway. An RFP will be issued shortly for implementation of a Human Resources Information and Payroll System to reduce paperwork and empower employees to have online access to their personal information. Technology training for City employees is being arranged, including working with Union County
College. A user friendly internal City Telephone Directory has been distributed. Enhancements have been introduced to the email system to make it easier for employees to communicate.
Accessing City information online
A redesign of the Plainfield website is underway, as is a plan to implement a citizen centric suite of applications to link departments and citizens to applications that help manage licenses, permits, forms, approval requests, etc., in a more efficient and cost effective manner. The RFP for a software solution to provide online, real-time access to property information licenses, permits and forms is under final review. A user-friendly City Directory is being prepared.
MAKING PLAINFIELD SAFE
Providing new leadership
Mayor Mapp appointed Carl Riley, formerly with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, as Director of Police and Public Safety. Under his leadership, the Plainfield Police Division will create new opportunities to partner with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
Maximizing resources and professionalism in the Police Division
The Plainfield Police Division was restructured on February 1st in an effort to maximize resources to better support operational and administrative activities. The Bureaus within are now comprised of Administrative, Support, Patrol, Investigations, and Professional Standards, with each one under the Command of a Captain. The new structure increases accountability and eliminates low morale created by the former lack of discipline within the Division.
Updating standards and achieving state accreditation for Plainfield police
The City of Plainfield has retained a consulting group to update the Police Division’s Policies, Procedures, Rules and Regulations to meet the standards for attaining NJSACOP Accreditation. This process has not been undertaken in Plainfield since 1997. The process began in April, 2014 and will be completed approximately 1 year. In the end, civil liability will be significantly minimized as all Policies, Procedures, Rules and Regulations will be up to the current accepted professional law enforcement standards.
Writing a mission statement for the Police Division
A mission statement for the Police Division has been established to reflect the professional service that is expected from all Police Officers: “The mission of the Plainfield Police Division is to provide a safe and secure city through fair and impartial enforcement of the laws, community partnership, and by maintaining high standards of excellence. Members of the Division are required to have integrity and respect for the law enforcement profession and the community. The Division will be responsive to the needs of the citizens by providing service with honor. The badge is a symbol of public trust. All members are required to wear it with great pride.”
Increasing use of technology in the Police Department
A commitment to technological advancement and improvement will steadily increase over the years. The Police Director, Mayor, and members of the Command Staff, have recently met with various law enforcement agencies to explore the most appropriate camera systems for the downtown business areas and key crime hot spots within the City to work in conjunction with the ShotSpotter System that is in place. In the coming months, the Police Division will also be moving forward with implementing Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety in an effort to more effectively address crime, quality of life and traffic issues within certain areas of the City. The Department is exploring the feasibility of installing GPS systems in all police vehicles.
Utilizing technology in the Fire Division
The Fire Division purchased state of the art software for record keeping and tracking. This software enhances the Division’s ability to track alarm activity, conduct training, manage personnel and maintain equipment.
Communicating effectively with Plainfield residents
The Police division is planning an upgrade for the technology infrastructure including servers, which will include building a back-up disaster recovery site.
Promoting fiscal efficiency
A closed circuit television room has been installed at the Police headquarters to support cameras that will be installed throughout the city in the near future. Staff is working on final reports to close out the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant received and administered by the Federal government.
Increasing police training
In-service supervisory training is being increased through traditional classroom methods and online partnerships with NJ Learn and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
This will enhance the creative thinking and risk-taking skills required for effective problem-solving, with supervisors trained to act as advisors and guides.
Securing a new police training facility
Elmwood Gardens Housing Complex, formerly vacant, has been utilized as a training facility. The Housing Authority removed all drop ladders on fire escapes, boarded up windows off the fire escapes, welded all basement doors, and chain locked all doors on the first floor with case hardened locks. The first floor doors are accessible by the Fire Division via Knox Box System in the event of emergency and for training purposes. The Union County SWAT (UCERT) team utilized Elmwood Gardens for tactical training on January 9th.
Updating fire equipment and emergency alarm systems
The Administration ordered a state of the art rescue pumper to replace a 22-year-old rescue truck. The apparatus will enhance the capabilities of the Fire Division and improve our Insurance Service Office (ISO) ratings. The department has also ordered new rescue tools and thermal imaging cameras to ensure that Plainfield residents are protected with the best equipment and technology available. The emergency alerting system in all Fire Stations has been updated to reduce notification and response times to incidents.
Providing specialized training for firefighters
All firefighter personnel received training in hazardous materials awareness to ensure that the Division is in compliance with State regulations. The division also introduced specialized training for first responders in dealing with children and adults with autism and other special needs.
Creating new partnerships to keep Plainfield’s children safe
Plainfield’s Police and Fire Divisions, Office of Emergency Management, and EMS conducted an Interagency training and a tabletop exercise with the Plainfield Board of Education for responding to school emergencies. A Standard Operating Procedure is being developed from this exercise, and all agencies will train together.
EXPANDING PLAINFIELD’S ECONOMY AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Providing new leadership
Mayor Mapp appointed a new Economic Development Office led by Deputy City Administrator Carlos N. Sanchez. The Mayor has instructed Sanchez to focus the Office of Economic Development (OED) on downtown revitalization, small business support, business retention, expansion, recruitment and partnerships with other local, State and Federal agencies to provide the necessary assistance to our residents and business community .
Receiving the Transit Oriented Development/Transit Village Designation
On March 28, Plainfield was accepted as the 28th New Jersey municipality to participate in the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) / Transit Village program, which partners the city with several state agencies to help implement mixed-used development and Complete Streets accommodations near transit facilities. The designation will greatly advance Plainfield’s continued revitalization of the City’s downtown into a more active, desirable, mixed-use destination for all.
Marketing the One Seat Ride to New York City
The City is conducting a media/marketing campaign to promote and encourage participation in the NJ Transit pilot one seat Ride to NY program. On March 3, 2014, Mayor Mapp and other city officials rode the inaugural one seat train.
Increasing summer employment opportunities for Plainfield youth
The Mayor’s proposed 2014 budget doubled the amount budgeted for youth summer jobs to
$190,000, from $95,000 in the 2013 Plainfield budget. The City employed 105 youth in 2013, and
the Administration’s goal in 2014 is to find summer jobs for over 200 youth and young adults.
Partnering with Google for Free Website Design and Hosting
Plainfield is one of three New Jersey municipalities to partner with Google in the “Get Your
Business Online” program. The program’s goal is to encourage and assist all businesses in Plainfield to have a website to promote their business, which will help the small business community
increase their client base and enhance economic activity in our business corridors. This program is free for one year to all Plainfield business owners.
Gathering Community Input on the Muhlenberg Hospital Site
The Administration began work in February with a consulting team retained by the city to study the best use for the former Muhlenberg Hospital site. Three community meetings are being held, and results from the study are expected to be completed within the next six months. The study is necessary to ensure complete participation of all our residents, stakeholders and neighboring towns. The site is another critical component of Plainfield’s future and progress in enhancing the City’s image and future growth.
Providing Employment Training Opportunities
The Administration recognizes the importance of providing employment skills to our residents, and a Job Fair has been scheduled for (DATE). A training session with resume writing workshops, networking skills, and job interview seminars will be scheduled prior to the Job Fair.
Supporting Plainfield Businesses
The Administration is exploring the development of a property tax rebate program based upon shopping locally, providing merchants with higher revenue, higher customer base and retention, and township support. The City will promote the program via web site, marketing campaign and local workshops to ensure that all our residents and business community take advantage of the programs available to them.
Improving Local/State Coordination in the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ)
The local UEZ has begun working with the State’s UEZ staff to increase the number of Plainfield businesses participating in the program. A City-owned laptop computer will be available at the Office of Economic Development for those wishing to sign up for the program. Increased UEZ participation will improve revenues and encourages greater economic activity.
Beautifying Plainfield’s Downtown Shopping District
The City is promoting its façade and sign program to assist businesses in improving their store fronts and signage. The program offers business owners the opportunity to make a capital improvement with grant assistance from the City. The program will improve the image of our business corridors and enhance economic activity.
SAFEGUARDING OUR MOST VULNERABLE RESIDENTS
Improving access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act
The Administration partnered with the Urban League of Union County to provide assistance with enrollment in the Affordable Care Act with two enrollment sessions at the Plainfield Public Library.
Responding to weather emergencies
During the severe winter weather, the Administration’s Public Works Department responded to approximately 60 emergency calls for heat. Approximately 500 snow notices were written and 100 summons issued to keep city streets and sidewalks safe and passable. New technology is being reviewed that will assist with scheduling staff and making the work force more efficient and effective.
Providing services to the elderly
In partnership with Union County Hot meal program, the Plainfield Senior Citizens Center served daily hot lunches to nearly 100 clients each month in the Center and to homebound members in conjunction with the Union County Meals on Wheels program. The Center has provided over 700 one-way transports to seniors so far this year and has provided transportation for over 100 trips to locations including museums, restaurants, art shows, department stores, food shopping, bowling, movies, dinner and lunch, health programs, plays, and educational forums. The Center also provides healthcare services, recreation, and access to a local food pantry.
Coordinating with local nonprofit organizations
The Administration’s Department of Public Works, the Recreation Department, and the Fire Division partnered with Calvary Baptist Church to distribute Easter packages to 190 homebound residents.
INVESTING IN PLAINFIELD’S INFRASTRUCTURE
Responding to emergency road conditions
During the severe winter weather, the Department of Public Works responded quickly and safely to emergency road conditions. The Department used over 600 tons of salt, 120 tons of sand and
5,000 gallons of liquid brim to treat and maintain Plainfield’s roadways.
Repairing winter road damage
In response to the severe winter weather that produced more damage than usual to Plainfield streets and roadways, the Administration purchased a pothole filler truck that allows greater efficiency and effectiveness with pothole repairs. The truck provides permanent repairs rather than temporary fixes and allows greater productivity with fewer personnel required. To date, the City has used 25 tons of cold patch and spent more than $25,000 in materials, including hot materials.
Improving Plainfield’s Quality of Life
Hiring a Chief of Staff
The Mayor appointed John Stewart, Jr as Chief of Staff. In this position, Stewart serves as an ombudsman and liaison to city residents and organizations. In addition, the Chief of Staff on behalf of the Mayor works with Federal, State, and local Government officials to identify resources for the City of Plainfield and our residents.
Increasing community outreach
The Chief of Staff is in the process of meeting with faith-based organizations, civic associations, non-profit organizations, the business community and neighborhood and block associations.
Providing Employment Training Opportunities
The Chief of Staff is partnering with the Department of Labor to hold a Job Fair during the summer of 2014. A training session with resume writing workshops, networking skills, and job interview seminars will be scheduled prior to the Job Fair.
Re-energizing local boards and commissions
Numerous vacancies have been filled on local boards and commissions, providing new leadership and new ideas to critically important local issues and activities. These include the Plainfield Housing Authority (1 seat); Planning Board (4 seats); Zoning Board of Adjustments (4 seats); Public Library Board of Trustees (4 seats); Cultural and Heritage Commission (1 seat); Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (2 seats); Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs (4 seats); Human Relations Commission (3 seats); Historic Preservation Committee (2 seats); and the Plainfield Cable Television Advisory Board (9 seats).
Creating new youth recreation opportunities
At the Mayor’s directive, two existing youth baseball leagues merged to form one Plainfield
Restoring civic pride
Planning has begun on the Fourth of July Parade, a signature Plainfield event, which will take place this year on Saturday, July 5th.
Enhancing cultural opportunities
Planning has begun on a revitalized Art Fair to be held in August of 2014. We will partner with
Plainfield’s rich arts community to make this event a success.
Upgrading Plainfield recreation facilities
The City is beginning renovations on restrooms in all City parks. Hannah Atkins Facility will be improved and enhanced with technology upgrades. The City is currently seeking funds and grants for improvements at Sielder Field.