Councilwoman Williams reverses course, sinks local pay-to-play restrictions

Last night in Plainfield Municipal Court, the City Council voted 4-3 on first reading to reverse it’s 2011 pay-to-play restrictions on vendors. I wrote about the ordinance, and its political significance, here on Monday.

As expected, Councilors Mills-Ransome, Goode, and McRae  – who had never taken a public position on pay-to-play – voted the party line by supporting MC 2017-02, widely viewed as favoring those in power. The man in power is Plainfield Democratic Chairman and Mayor Adrian Mapp, who supported the campaigns of Goode and McRae as well as last week’s appointment of Mills-Ransome.

Councilwomen Rivers and Tolliver voted against the roll-back, as did Mapp-ally Cory Storch.

Storch originally sponsored the bill in 2011 on the grounds that pay-to-play “enables the party and people in power to amass huge war chests that are a disadvantage to outsiders, newcomers, and non-incumbents who want to run for office.” Storch also argued that vendors do shoddier work, and charge more, when they have an inside arrangement for a contract. Last night, Cory Storch put politics aside and stood by his morals.

Councilwoman and self-proclaimed radical Rebecca Williams was perhaps the most vocal proponent of these pay-to-play restrictions in 2011, when she, then-Councilman Adrian Mapp, and Cory Storch were outsiders looking in. Williams even blogged about it three times (one, two, three).

A lot changes in five years, apparently. Last night Williams voted to scrap legislation she once championed as a huge political victory, and “radical change”.

If “ethical, fair, open, and honest” were Williams’ words for MC 2011-11’s restrictions five years ago, how do we describe her actions should she vote again to reverse these rules next month?

MC 2017-02 will be up for second reading and final passage on February 13.

After all was said and done, Alan Goldstein expressed his disappointment with the governing body for what he called a political move. You can watch the video below. My apologies, I had to use my camera phone.

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