Friday, March 07, 2008

Santiago elimination - Ledger - Council abolishes position

Published in the Star-Ledger, Friday, March 07, 2008

[Removal of Chief Santiago]
Council votes to abolish police chief's position

PLAINFIELD: As expected, the city council approved two controversial public safety ordi nances at Wednesday night's meeting.

The first abolishes the police chief's position and creates a civilian police director, while the second reorganizes the police department and allows the public safety director to simultaneously hold the position of police direc tor.

The measures must now be approved on second reading at the next council meeting, which is March 17. Should that happen, both would take effect April 11, city officials said.

On the vote to eliminate the police chief's position -- Edward Santiago currently holds that title -- the seven-member council voted 5-0 with two abstentions. Council members Rashid Burney, Linda Carter, Don Davis, William Reid and Elliott Simmons approved; while Council President Harold Gibson and Councilman Cory Storch abstained.

On the vote to reorganize the police department, the council passed it 5-2, with Burney, Davis, Gibson, Reid and Simmons approving. Carter and Storch op posed the measure.

Santiago has said he will appeal any attempt to remove him, contending it is politically moti vated on the part of Mayor Sha ron Robinson-Briggs' administration. The mayor says the ordi nances are meant to create a more efficient and accountable police department.

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.