Early in yesterday’s meeting, City Administrator Rick Smiley announced that the Mapp Administration would not seek advice and consent concerning the nomination of Carlos Sanchez for the “Class II” Planning Board opening. This nomination had raised a few eyebrows as Mr. Sanchez was named Deputy City Administrator in charge of Economic Development.
As you may have assumed, the withdrawal of Mr. Sanchez’s name was due to an emphatic rejection by the governing body.
It turns out that in yesterday’s executive session, the often adversarial majority of the City Council not only gave Sanchez the thumbs down, but proposed its own nominee. “I reminded the council that its role is not to nominate, but to grant advice and consent,” recalled the new Mayor today to Plainfield View. “Only the executive branch of government can nominate candidates.”
Mapp characterized the rejection as unusual and potentially a historic first for such an appointment in Plainfield.
The City Council had no say in the Planning Board appointment of designee John Stewart, Adrian Mapp’s Chief of Staff. During the public comments portion, Plainfield resident Alan Goldstein offered his own view. “I see this as a big potential conflict of interest,” said Goldstein. “He’s got some ties to Frank Cretella who is supposedly the largest developer in town. I can’t see the Planning Board going through its term without issues directly or peripherally related to this.”
Today, Mayor Mapp assured the public that Stewart, like any official, would recuse himself on any matter involving him or his business interests. He added that Stewart “should not be treated any differently from anyone else.”
For watchdogs, I guess that begs the question – what are Mr. Stewart’s personal and business interests?