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Monday, May 9, 2011

TV Listings: Charlestown Town Council Meeting Tonight

UPDATED with new information and links to documents posted this morning on Clerkbase.

7:00 PM - ??? On ClerkBase TV [sitcom, but no laugh track].
Tonight's Council meeting is loaded with just about every hot button issue in town, except for the Beach Pavillion and what flavor Peeps® is the best.

Among them:

#8.e. under new business is Larry Leblanc's proposal that the town buy the infamous site where he has proposed either the Whalerock wind turbines, affordable housing, a nuclear power plant or a nerve gas factory (take your pick). Will we or won't we get us some more open space?

#9.b. A public hearing and yet another likely trashing of the proposal by Ted Veazey to put a small, tasteful plat of houses on the site of the derelict YMCA camp. For details about what Mr. Veazey plans to do (as opposed to what opponents say about him), click here.  

Update: 16. Discussion of an Open Meetings Complaint. This is a complaint filed by anti-Whalerock residents against Gregg Avedesian and former Council members Forrester Safford and Candi Dunn. The complainants say these Council members held a private meeting with Larry LeBlanc, Whalerock's developer at a 2009 conference at URI to urge him to undertake the project. The complainants argue this constituted a council meeting (since a majority of the Council took part) which was not advertised or open to the public. Read the complaint here.

Also, in an earlier version of this posting, I noted that there may have been another unfair labor practice charge against the town being discussed in executive session. There isn't. However, the standing complaint by Teamsters Local 251 is being discussed - again, if I get information on that, I will pass it along.

UPDATED 17.b. Amazingly, there's going to be a new person joining the Affordable Housing Commission - Connie Baker. That will bring the membership up to two. This is one of the most thankless jobs in town, since the Planning Commission has sworn a blood oath to never let any affordable housing ever get built in town.  However, Ms. Baker seems right in tune with the anti-affordable housing stance of the CCA/PC/TC. In her application, she writes that she wants "to work with other rural communities to help change RI laws for Affordable [SIC] The current laws only target urban areas. Our infrastructure is not such that we will never [SIC] be able to meet the requirements. Want to bring change to those laws." I guess it isn't enough for CCA to pack the Planning Commission with enemies of affordable housing - now there's a person who basically cancels out long-time advocate Evelyn Smith, the only other member of the commission.

18.a. The final Council vote to put the $25 million budget and accompanying tax increases before the voters on June 6th.

UPDATED: 18.b. Discussion of a request from Town Administrator Bill DiLibero to indemnify and hire private counsel for six of the individuals named in Council member Lisa DiBello's legal action against the Town, DiLibero, former Town Administrator William Sartor, Police Chief Jack Shippee, GIS coordinator Stephen McCandless, and current Council members Gregory J. Avedisian and Marjorie F. Frank. From the letters to the Council, it looks like at least two private lawyers would be hired to supplement the town solicitor. DiBello also charged former Council members Candy Dunn and  Richard Hosp in her complaint, but they are not mentioned in the agenda item.

Bonus feature: Will Lisa DiBello vote on the new budget (which contains an added $100,000 to cover extra litigation costs for the town) or this indemnification request? I asked Ms. DiBello to comment on her previous votes to add the litigation money to the budget since it relates directly to her case.

In her April 30th reply, Ms. DiBello first made it clear that she thought I was picking on her,was making "unfounded attacks" (I thought I was asking a question) and had something personal against her (I don't even know her). She also described in detail how very busy she is.

But at the end of the long e-mail she said "the vote was simply to add the issue to the budget for purposes of allowing the public to vote on the same and is therefore advisory in nature only.  My vote in no way binds the town to expend any funds on any litigation matter, let alone on the EEOC complaint which I have filed against the Town" and "On the issue of recusal, I will recuse whenever required to do so by the prohibited activities described by the RI Code of Ethics ( RIGL 36-14-2.)  It is impossible for me to guess at what matters may arise in the future and I will judge each as they arise, with the requirements of the Code of Ethics at the forefront of my mind."

Author: Will Collette