Published in the Courier News, Sunday, April 20, 2008
Letter to Editor
Support for Annie McWilliams as agent of Plainfield change
I am truly inspired by Annie McWilliams' answer to the call of public service in announcing her candidacy for the at-large seat on the Democratic ticket for Plainfield City Council. Like her father, the late Al McWilliams, Annie is devoted to the betterment of Plainfield for all of its residents. Through her youth advocacy, she has offered hope to the young people of this city, whose need for young role models to emulate is greater than ever during these difficult times. Her strong business background (a degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business) would be a welcome addition to the council.
Unfortunately, what has happened in our city of Plainfield over the past years under the current administration of Sharon Robinson-Briggs is a travesty. The ineptitude of municipal government, as illustrated by the performance of this administration more than halfway through its tenure, has caused many of us to throw up our collective hands in disgust.
At the behest of the Robinson-Briggs administration, the municipal budget has become inflated with jobs for individuals whose qualifications have been very much in question. Residents are upset at the crumbling infrastructure of our city, the lack of communication on the part of the administration and the continued waste of money, as exemplified by the mayor's private security detail, for which Plainfielders foot the bill to the tune of nearly $200,000 per year!
Currently, the Plainfield City Council consists of a majority that denies the right of public access to its citizens by illegally refusing to air City Council meetings on the local channel (which is paid for by Plainfield residents, by the way!), that rubber stamps every new employee the administration puts before it (while deliberately withholding resumes of qualifications from public scrutiny!), and that refuses to pass a strong municipal pay-to-play ordinance to protect residents from conflict of interest in the awarding of public contracts.
Our taxes have gone up every year as services have declined. We need an advocate who will work for us, not for some political agenda that is hostile to the needs of Plainfield residents.
We need to restore transparency and trust in our government, along with a sense that our city council members will strive to meet the highest standards of ethical and personal behavior. Second Ward Councilman Cory Storch has already demonstrated his independence by endorsing Annie's run, noting that he, too, is inspired by her candidacy in this historic year.
It has been my pleasure to know Annie, as I was a friend of Al McWilliams, who inspired me to get involved in helping make change. At his urging, I became involved in several campaigns over the years, serving in the past as campaign manager to Linda Carter, Cory Storch, and the late Ray Blanco, as well as campaign co-chair on Al's second mayoral campaign.
All Al asked was that the city, as opposed to any other agenda, come first. Annie asks the same of all who desire to work on her behalf. She is strong, independent, and smart -- qualities that we should demand from all of our public servants.
It is time for a change. I encourage voters to come out and support Annie, who is devoted to her family, to her Shiloh Baptist Church community, and to Plainfield, for the at-large city council seat. I am convinced that Annie McWilliams best represents the change that Plainfield needs and that, with the support and votes of the greater Plainfield community, she can be successful.
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.