Friday, April 25, 2008

Middletown's Secret Agreement To Be Made Public

Projo's Meaghan Wims is reporting that the Attorney General's office has decided that Middletown MUST release the separation agreement between the town & former Town Administrator Gerald Kempen. This was no surprise as they had issued a similar ruling for Tiverton just a few weeks ago. Antone Viverios of Island Watchdogs filed the initial complaint, followed by the Newport Daily News.

Now remember, this agreement will NOT list reasons for Kempen's decision to leave or why many on the Council led by the Prez seemed eager for him to depart. What it will do is detail exactly what it cost the town in monies. Both Councilors Silveira & DiPalma voted to publicly release this document, with the rest voting against.

These docs must be released to the public by the town in 10 days under open public-records laws. Hurray! Secret records or records which are difficult to obtain undermine not only the people's right to know but government of, by, & for the people. Yesterday I was in the Newport City Clerk's office. There was an available request form for public records at a cost of 15 cents per page. Right out there for everyone to see and use. Good for them. I've never seen this is Middletown. Why not?

None of this bodes well for current town elected leadership. We now have a temp Town Admin.- Shawn Brown. Evidently leadership had tapped the current Police Chief for this job, but decided to defer for a number of reasons- mainly that the resulting vote would have been split & not unanimous (and not just outlaw "White Knight" Silveira being the lone "nay" voter). It just wouldn't have looked good to the press and would have led to questions being asked. Shawn was the town's financial manager- and may well be again. The permanent job applicants are now in the interviewing stage by the Town Council. And how much did this cost? Not small amounts as a firm was hired to undertake this task.

It just gets intersting & more interesting, doesn't it? The more the Council tries to move ahead, the more mired in the past they become. And elections not far away. Yup, downright interesting. And the budget, let's not forget the current agenda. With the General Assembly & the Guv slashing budgets the future does not bode well. Hmm, wasn't it the General Assembly who said that local property taxes were too high? Funny way of dealing with it, cap the property taxes & decrease state assistance. I won't even go down the meadering new wilderness path the federal government has been on for awhile. Strange & worrisome times. Europe keeps looking better & better.
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