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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cheeky Charlestown Chatter

In 2010, Lisa DiBello explained to voters that she was running for the Charlestown Town Council only because she wished to serve the town. Yes, she had been recently let go from her job as Parks and Recreation Director but she wasn't out for revenge or anything like that.

She has some strong supporters in town, not the least of them Jim Mageau, who worked hard to help her campaign. The voters believed her and elected her to the Council in 2010.
Now, a few months later, she plans to sue the Town of Charlestown, the Town Administrator, a former Town Administrator, the Police Chief, two current Town Council members, and three former Town Council Members. She is accusing them of participating in a five-year conspiracy that ended in her ouster. 
That has not done much to help the Town Council perform its duties smoothly as we have described here. The most recent Town Council meeting turned into a verbal brawl of counter-accusations punctuated by statements of inside information from unnamed "sources".
On top of that friction there is the little point that a recent town ordinance requires approval by three of the five Council members for many important decisions. With three of the members forced to recuse themselves from any vote even slightly related to the litigation the two remaining members cannot vote on anything substantive.
When the RI State Ethics Commission was asked about this they said that it's uncharted territory because they knew of no previous case where a sitting Town Council member was suing the town and other Council members.
So Ms. DiBello only ran for Town Council to serve the town ... and now the Council is virtually unable to function because she has chosen to simultaneously Serve and Sue.
While she is certainly entitled to sue in order to correct any wrongs, people in town are starting to ask whether she was hiding her true intentions when she was campaigning. If so, that is a breach of the trust the public placed in her hands because she is now hindering the ability of the Council to function. 
She chose to run for office, but she also chose to become the town's adversary. Those two choices just don't work together.

Author: Tom Ferrio

Note: this article is reprinted from one published in the South Kingston We will be watching and  reporting on how smoothly the Council works together at their next regular meeting on July 11.