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Council Appoints New Town Solicitor, Swears-in Promoted Firefighters

The Portsmouth Town Council met Monday night at Town Hall.

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. 

Fed up to here December 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Do I have this right? The Democrats came to the meeting knowing that they were going to appoint Kevin Gavin as the solicitor? A definate violation of the open meetings law.
Bill Carson December 11, 2012 at 04:04 PM
7:19 Wind turbine private partnership RFP from Green Energy News quote: "-- The Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island is seeking proposals from qualified wind energy developers and/or operations and maintenance firms to either 1) purchase or lease the 1.5 megawatt wind turbine generator (WTG) currently installed on the grounds of Portsmouth High School for no less than $2.9 million; or 2) repair the turbine and enter into a project management partnership with the Town to operate and maintain the WTG currently installed on the grounds of Portsmouth High School. The Town's WTG began operating in March 2009, but is currently off-line in need of major repair to resume operations." "Due date December 7, 2012" http://www.green-energy-news.com/content/fundopps.html
just saying December 12, 2012 at 03:07 AM
There's a reason he is the Former council President Joseph Robicheau we are tired of hearing from him. It appears Joe that didn't kep his promise I'm finished with politics.
2therightinri December 12, 2012 at 03:44 PM
With regard to the political appointment of Gavin as town solicitor... We voted for change and got business as usual...Why am I not surprised.
Barry Stone December 14, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Business as usual for the democrats. Expected behavior from Seveney and Buddemeyer but you would think Magee and Blaess would have had more respect and consideration for the residents of Portsmouth in the appointment of Gavin. Ms. Pedro you are correct, this is only a political appointment. It is obvious it was all well planned out prior to even entering the chambers. Shame on you all.

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