Monday, July 14, 2008

Middletown Council or "Mission Impossible"

**UPDATE** Here is Projo's Meaghan Wim's account. Her editor entitled it, "Court date possible on Kempen’s plea to be heard." That about says it all. Here is the "Newport Daily News" reporter Mike Sheley's take.

This Council takes you down a road with more twists & turns than the curls in my hair. All were present except DiPalma.

There were various discussions of work contracts that were awarded or not. Not one of the contracts went to the lowest bidder, I think, because of the lack of 5 references. Councilor Santos demurred from awarding contracts to the lowest bidders because she "would like to save money, but we have rules in place." Hmm, maybe it's time to take a closer look at these rules. Awarding contracts with frequently large money differences is costly to the town. When Councilor Sylvia asked why 5 references were req'd (as opposed to 7 or 4), he rec'd no answer that I could discern. Councilor Silveira also expressed concern over these awards.

The library exterior repair contract was put on hold pending the answering of some questions which the Librarian was vague on. What happened to the Council liason- Barrow? Not a word. One might think that she could have, should have contributed to this discussion. What the heck does a Council liason do?

A contract award was placed on hold regarding the 2008 revaluation. Seems as if the bid loser had some complaints as to why he was not recommended even as lowest bidder. He found this out off the agenda website. This is now put on hold pending further discussions with the Town Admin. Good thing that he checked.

When former Town Admin. Kempen's letter was brought up, Councilor Sylvia recused himself as Michael Brady (Kempen's lawyer) is also his in a pending case. This supposedly is a conflict of interest, according to Carol Cummins who then continued on this topic. She seemed disappointed that Sylvia withdrew & beat her to the punch. Why? She spoke with the Ethics Commission & this was her conclusion. She's no lawyer, but plays one on t.v. She made it quite clear that this was her opinion only. No comment from the town's solicitor.

The town solicitor said that an Exec. session is a no-go as Kempen is no longer a town employee. So the Kempen complaint will go to the trust who handles its lawsuits & will comment on it in 40 days (and 40 nights). So this topic will kick around in the desert awhile longer. Councilor Silveira stated that it was "prudently responsible" to hold a meeting which will put an end to Kempen's litigation threat. He got nowhere. I think the majority would like to send him to the desert. Maybe he's already there.

Antone Viveiros spoke a number of times. He complained that his Charter-change suggestions went into "the circular file" of the Council. He thought that the whole Charter commission process was "a scam" in that ALL of its suggestions are not to be voted on and/or were changed. The Chair took great exception to this & loudly objected that Antone's comments were "inappropriate." At least he wasn't arrested.

Antone asked for a vote to "reconsider." The solicitor then ruled that this is out of order. Of course it is. What he should have asked for was a motion to "repeal" or "rescind." The solicitor still hasn't ruled on Sylvia's motion from two months ago because he wasn't familiar with it. But I digress.

Councilor Silveira thought that Antone should have been on the charter commission (he was not appointed) & agreed with "letting residents have a voice in the decision." But still, no go. We're all too darn stupid to vote on all this, that's why. Well, YOU are, not me. Not them either. Aren't we lucky to have all these deciders?

There were various clapping episodes with no police interference. I'd call it a draw myself. I think someone should make a motion to have one of those old applause meters monitored by the police officer in charge of crowd control. He/She could then holler out the winners. Perhaps there could be prizes. The winner could hold the handcuffs or become the chief "shusher." I'd be good at the latter. After all, I was a librarian. I think that qualifies me as a "professional." Why hired a copper when I'd do it for... well, very little.

It was quite a show. Councilor Barrow spoke once about wasted "energy and efforts..." but it was said so softly that I couldn't catch the rest. Oh darn. The phantom finally verbalizes (remember she changed her vote on taking Kempen up on his public meeting request) and I miss it! There was clapping involved, so perhaps one of the reporters picked up on it. Or maybe they just applauded to find out that she actually speaks.

It must be an interesting Republican Town Committee meeting with Antone, Barrow, & Santos. From what I see they agree on zilch, yet they are running together. So much for political parties. Go figure.

The finale of this ongoing episode occured as Councilor Santos decided to seperate herelf from ther herd by proposing a town food bank- for residents only. You'll have to flesh out the idea yourself though, and with no committees, thank you very much. I think it's rather ironic when having the opportunity in the past 2 yrs. to reduce taxes by using some of the reserve funds, she declined. When the opportunity presented itself to have trash removal as a town service rather than a pay-a-you-throw, she also declined. When the former Town Admin. complained of interence, she voted to pay him off & bid him bye-bye. This program is to be on a main road serviced by buses, run by high schoolers, & overseen by seniors. Details, details. The specifics need a tad of work. And it will cost the town nada. I'm speechless. Literally. Town Admin Brown- handle it!

So if you're looking for a professional wrap-up, read tomorrow's Projo or Daily News. Ron Santa of the Middletown Newsletter was not present- probably out surfing, dude. With Sen. Gibbs.

The Council divisions are present more sharply than ever. It's like the old Roman circus without the drawn swords. No wonder they need a police presence. Free tickets are abundantly awarded. Where's the bread? Hmm, garlic, I hope. Maybe some bruchetta, too. Topped with lots of tomatoes. How do I get off topic when reporting here?

"Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to bring peace and harmony to the Middletown Council & the town. As usual, should you or any member of your I.M. Force be captured or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim."

Jim declined this mission. Poof!
Post a Comment