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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Surprise shake-up at Town Hall

Council majority resigns; 2010 top vote-getters sworn in as replacements
By Will Collette

In an emotional scene, Council President Tom Gentz and Council Vice-President Dan Slattery announced they were resigning from the Charlestown Town Council, effective immediately.

In an unrelated event, Councilor Lisa DiBello has left Charlestown, moving her household to California. DiBello left a goodbye note containing her resignation from the Council in the Tax Collector’s mailbox outside Town Hall.

Forrester Safford back to fill vacancy for balance of term
Under the Town Charter and to ensure continuity of government, the next three top vote-getters – 2010 candidates who did not make the cut to win Council seats – were sworn in to replace them. This means a return to the Council by former Council members Candi Dunn and Forrester Safford and, just to show how cruel fate can be, CCA stalwart Cliff Vanover filled the final vacancy.

As the top surviving vote-getter, Marge Frank is the obvious choice to replace Gentz as Town Council President. But Ms. Frank said she had quite enough of that job, having served as Council President from November 2008 to November 2010. She stepped aside to let the next in line, Councilor Gregg Avedisian, take the job.
Avedisian becomes President
of Charlestown

President Avedisian immediately wanted to know if the position came with a town car and a driver.

Though some mystery still cloaks the abrupt resignations of Council members Gentz, Slattery and DiBello, a few facts are beginning to emerge.

Over the past two weeks since the March 12 Town Council meeting, Gentz has been seen most nights getting blind drunk in sketchy bars along the Pawcatuck waterfront. His cherry-red, mint-condition 1966 Porsche has been seen outside, parked up on the curb. Witnesses report seeing Gentz weeping in between trips to the men’s room where he became violently ill.

I just want to be Uncle Fluffy
Gentz was also seen wearing bunny ears and was overheard telling one of the workers at the Post Office that he wanted to go back to being Uncle Fluffy again, that he couldn’t live with the ogre he has become as a result of the Council President’s job.

He was heard saying “Blogs are evil cesspools of lies and slanders and that new Cassidy kid at the Sun won’t write what I want. What happened to the days when the Town Council could do things with no one watching.”

Former Council Vice President Dan Slattery was seen packing his family and trunks full of town documents into the family station wagon and strapping the dog to the roof.

He told one neighbor that he was sick of not being appreciated in Charlestown and intended to return to Washington, DC to resume his old duties as a water-boarding trainer at “The Farm,” the CIA’s training facility in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Slattery side-swiped several cars in his old Watchaug Heights neighborhood with the U-Haul trailer as he and his family were leaving Charlestown.

Slattery returns to the work he really loves
Slattery stopped briefly to place notes under each car’s windshield. Witnesses assumed he was leaving the owners of the damaged vehicles information on how he could be reached so he could pay for the damages.

Progressive Charlestown managed to get one of those notes under the RI Access to Public Records Act. The note simply read “Screw you, sucker. Catch me if you can. Hugs, Deputy Dan.”

Friends of Councilor DiBello say she has been talking about leaving Charlestown for weeks. She told friends that she had always wanted to open a costume jewelry store in Los Angeles and also wanted to be closer to the studios where her favorite game shows were recorded. She said she wanted to see if she could become a professional game show contestant and reality show star or even become the star of her own game show.

She is also legally changing her name to Lala (no last name). 

New Council President Avedisian is preparing his Inaugural Address for his formal swearing-in ceremony to take place on April 9th. He plans to announce the names of his Cabinet appointments within the next few days.

And new Council member Cliff Vanover, who has never held public office, is trying to acclimate himself to his new station in life. According to police reports, as soon as Vanover heard he was going on the Town Council, he hiked down Route 2 to the home of Jim Mageau and pushed a camera in his face.

Vanover has since been seen wandering around Charlestown with a can of organic spray paint, which he has used to mark homes and businesses that he plans to have demolished to create more open space.

Vanover has issued a news release to announce that his first proposal for the new Town Council would be a program to remove the asphalt from paved town roads to increase the amount of permeable surface.

He said “if we move quickly we can get East Beach Road and West Beach Road converted before the tourist season begins.” He also said that he plans to propose permanent Beach Parking Full signs at the entry of each road from Route 1.

Deployed and ready
Police Chief Jack Shippee has put the town police force on high alert, in the event these unexpected changes lead to civil unrest and looting in downtown Charlestown.

He has ordered the town’s “Tank” (actually an armored personnel carrier), ex-military Hummers and other specialized vehicles placed at strategically sensitive locations, such as Rippy’s and the Cove.

He has also stationed heavily-armed police around the perimeter of Sonquipaug to prevent that neighborhood from seceding from the town while Charlestown is in a state of turmoil.

With the departures of Councilors Gentz, Slattery and DiBello, Town Administrator William DiLibero can breathe a sigh of relief, as their resignations effectively end the CCA’s “Kill Bill Campaign.” Since the CCA now has only Cliff Vanover on the Town Council - and all he cares about is creating more open space – there is no one left to beat the drum over the trumped up charges against DiLibero.

Planning Commissar Ruth Platner, spouse of new Councilor Cliff Vanover, has assumed new executive powers and has ordered a new dawn-to-dusk blackout. No lights, inside or out, once the sun goes down.

She also announced proposing a new town ordinance classifying cats as an unapproved accessory use in residential zoning areas.

In a communiqué from Town Hall, the newly constituted Town Council informed Charlestown citizens that there is no cause for alarm and that further information and instructions would be issued by 6 PM on April 1st