The Portsmouth Town Council held its first regular meeting of the new session on Monday night at Town Hall.
Featured here is an account of actions taken during the meeting.
Council swears in promoted firefighters
7 p.m. — Council swears-in the following Portsmouth firefighters: Steven L. Lynch, captain; Howard F. Tighe, captain; Carl J. Bowley, lieutenant; and Michael D. Pinksaw, lieutenant.
7:06 — Council commends election assistants and Board of Canvassers for work during the General Election.
7:08 — Council approves consent agenda and places it on file.
7:09 — This is the first business meeting as a sitting council, according to new council President Jim Seveney.
7:19 — Town Administrator John Klimm gives his report. Klimm says the town has received four proposals for private partnerships in order to address the town's wind turbine issue. The wind turbine has not turned since earlier this year. The proposals should be discussed at the first meeting in January.
7:24 — Klimm says he will take a vacation this year. During his absence, he will appoint the acting police chief as the interim manager for any emergencies.
7:25 — Council accepts resignation of Mary Magee from the Economic Development Committee. Magee is a sitting member of the new council.
7:30 — Seveney recommends to continue discussion on Wastewater Management Ordinance. Seveney says the council does not have the material to discuss.
Council honors Aquidneck Land Trust director
7:36 — Ted Clement, outgoing executive director of Aquidneck Land Trust, speaks before council. Clement discusses preservation of The Glen. Clement will soon be replaced as executive director by Chuck Allott, a former Portsmouth town councilor. A teary-eyed Clement made his last speech to the council by stating "My family and I have enjoyed living on this island." Seveney presented Clement with a proclamation for his years of service and dedication to land preservation.
7:43 — David Faucher, finance director, discusses revenue and expenditure report.
Council appoints new town solicitor
7:46 — Council to discuss appointment of new town solicitor. David Gleason, new council member, recommends issuing a request for proposal (RFP) for a new town solicitor. "We should look for the best services for the best costs," Gleason said. Gleason motions to solicit bids for next term.
7:49 — Keith Hamilton says town solicitor position runs between $60,000 to $100,000 for the town. Liz Pedro says town solicitor should not be "political appointment." Seveney says he doesn't support RFP. Former council President Joseph Robicheau standing at podium to speak on issue.
7:54 — Robicheau says council should issue RFP. "Competitive hire is the best choice for Portsmouth," he said.
7:58 — The motion fails 4-3 with Magee, John Blaess, Seveney and Michael Buddemeyer against. Seveney recommends appointing Attorney Kevin Gavin as new solicitor.
8:02 — Council votes 4-3 with Pedro, Gleason and Hamilton against. Seveney says he will begin "as soon as possible."
8:04 — Seveney presents D.A. D'Andrea with a town tile for his 14 years of service. "Not only is he a gentleman, but an expert in his chosen field," Seveney said.
Council seeks ballot question on tolls
8:14 — John Vitkevitch speaking before council about proposed toll on Sakonnet River Bridge. Vitkevitch asks council to write letter opposing toll and send to governor, Senate President and other state leaders.
8:17 — Council agrees to write letter to governor, Senate president, House Speaker, DOT director and local representation; forward resolution requiring the DOT to complete a comprehensive and environmental impact study; and take the necessary steps to introduce a ballot question to the state on the issue.
8:30 — Esmond "Doug" Smith talks to council about the 375th town anniversary. The anniversary group is asking everyone to take part in the Polar Dive 375. The polar dive will take place on New Year's Day, at noon, in Island Park. The group hopes 375 people will "take the dive." "My wife already bought me a speedo," Seveney joked.
8:33 — "I will participate as long as the ambulance will be there," Pedro says.
8:33 — Council hears request to purchase a surplus firetruck for Prudence Island Volunteer Fire Department. Council approves request.
8:45 — Council approves request to issue RFP for paving services.
8:49 — Council accepts resignation of Police Chief Lance E. Hebert.
8:52 — Council approves authorization to pay bills in accordance with the regular agenda deadline.
8:59 — Meeting adjourns.