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Gansett Town Council Roundup: Nov. 20, 2012

The town clerk swears in a new school committee and town council before a two-hour meeting.

In the first act of business at Monday’s Narragansett Town Council meeting, Narragansett Town Clerk Anne Irons swore in the members of the school committee and town council for new two-year terms.

(In case you missed that whole election thing in early November, you can find recaps here and here.)

The council voted 5-0 to make James Callaghan council president, and 4-1 to make Susan Cicilline-Buonanno council vice president. Former council president Glenna Hagopian was the vote against.

Callaghan thanked former councilors David Crook, Alisa Trainor Fleet and Chris Wilkens for their service. Crook and Fleet did not win re-election to the council, while Wilkens chose to run against Teresa Tanzi for a General Assembly seat and also lost.

In other business:

- After a lengthy public hearing, the council approved a motion to pursue amendments to the town’s Code of Ordinances, which would allow for inns to be 40 feet in a B-A zone, up from the current height limit of 35.

The motion passed by a 4-1 vote, with councilor Matthex Mannix voting against. The ordinance change is being pursued primarily for a hotel project in the South End, near Spain’s, Aunt Carrie’s and other businesses.

Narragansett business owners Bob Trager and Kathy Baptista, Chamber of Commerce executive director Deb Kelso, and resident Al Alba spoke in favor of the change.

Resident John Devaney spoke against it, and said the town didn’t need to make any changes. Richard and Ann Watelet, residents of Third Street, also opposed the change, as did two other residents.

- The council voted 5-0 to reorganize the police chain of command, exchanging a deputy chief position for a captain position.

According to Narragansett Police Chief and Acting Town Manager Dean Hoxsie, the reorganization would fold non-union deputy chief duties into a union captain position. Hoxsie said union officers were not interested in the deputy chief position, which did not allow for collective bargaining, and would include a pay and vacation cut.

Hoxsie said he was in favor of the change, which would have two captains. (See the attached PDF for the chain of command.) Hoxsie said there would be no pay increase or addition of positions with the reorganization.

Hoxsie said that officers had already taken promotion exams in anticipation of the Dec. 1 bid process for shifts.

- The council voted 5-0 to table the reappointments of Town Solicitor Mark McSally and the position of town sergeant to a future meeting.

When asked by Hagopian her reasons for asking for an evaluation of the solicitor’s position, Buonanno said that while campaigning, she had been asked by residents to look into the current structure. McSally was informed before the meeting that Buonanno would be making the motion.

- The council voted 5-0 to reappoint James Sheridan as Narragansett Probate Court judge.

- The council voted 5-0 to reappoint John DeCubellis as the Narragansett Municipal Court judge.

- The council voted 5-0 to reappoint Anne Irons as the clerk of probate and municipal court.

- The council issued a commendation to Matthew David Matrullo for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.

- The consent agenda was approved by a 5-0 vote. Items on the consent agenda:

  • A request from Kelso to hold the Jingle Bell 5k Road Race on Dec. 2
  • A grant for $23,490 from the Rhode Island Justice Commission.
  • A one-year contract with Natural Fitness to conduct yoga sessions at Narragansett Town Beach.
  • A motion to approve a waiver of interest for certain eligible taxpayers, along with $8,706.36 in real estate abatements.
  • A motion to approve software maintenance agreement with Vision for $11,125 for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
  • A motion to approve a victualing license for Mark Eldridge of Meldgie’s Diner of 909 Boston Neck Road.

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