Saturday, January 05, 2008

Council - Ledger -Gibson to lead, policy changes coming

Published in the Star-Ledger, Friday, January 4, 2008

Council president sees policy changes in store

PLAINFIELD: Harold Gibson, the new city council president, said he will recommend changes in council policy and procedure to ensure "the public is getting what it pays for" and also will encourage more members to meet with citizens.

Gibson, who was selected to the at-large council seat in August 2006 after council president Ray Blanco died, then elected by voters that November, wasn't specific about what those changes might entail.

In recent months, he has voiced his displeasure about the existing council meeting schedule. In a brief interview yesterday, Gibson said "the potential exists that maybe we don't need to meet as often as we do."

The city's 47,000 residents cannot all attend council meet ings, Gibson said, so he wants to encourage council members to attend neighborhood organization meetings to stay in touch with their constituents.

In terms of change, Gibson said, there are procedures the council has followed for years, some of which have not worked. "There is a tendency to resist change," he said. "My feeling is that to resist change is to set up a recipe for failure. I certainly don't want to do that."

Gibson, who had been Union County public safety director, took over Wednesday as head of the Union County Sheriff's Office new Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Gang Reduction unit.

Online story here. Archived here.

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Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.