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Town Manager Miller On The Outs

The Narragansett Town Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, in which it is expected to accept a termination agreement for manager Grady Miller, or to fire him.

According to an agenda posted on the Secretary of State’s website, the Narragansett Town Council will meet Thursday night to discuss the job performance and potentially fire Town Manager Grady Miller.

See the attached PDF for details about the meeting.

The advertisement for executive session reads that the council will “review the job performance of the Town Manager and to review a potential separation agreement in accordance with RI general laws.”

Following executive session, the council will meet in open session to discuss a separation agreement with the town manager and to authorize the council president to sign it, suggesting that Miller’s fate is already sealed.

If the council doesn’t approve the separation agreement, there is a motion on the agenda to remove the town manager. If agenda item 1 or 2 is acted upon, then the council would then appoint an acting town manager.

In recent months, there has been friction between a three-member majority of the council and Miller over a budget maneuver he performed to allot $3,000 to the Narrow River Preservation Association for water testing.

In September 2011, before an impromptu performance review of Miller following a charter review commission.

In April, the council the allotment by a 3-2 vote. Councilors Glenna Hagopian, Alisa Trainor Fleet and David Crook Sr voted to investigate, with councilors Christopher Wilkens and Susan Cicilline-Buonanno voting against.

The voting breakdown was the same on May 7, when solicitor Mark McSally’s report about Miller’s actions was by a similar 3-2 vote. The South County Independent has a full story here, as well.

There could be something in the South County water, since Charlestown reached an agreement with its manager for his ouster in April. For more, read a story from The Westerly Sun here.

The agenda and supporting documents for Thursday’s meeting haven’t been posted on ClerkBase for Narragansett as of 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Christine Tierney May 30, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Extremely disappointing outcome.
I'm Tired of the Games May 30, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Well, you could see this coming after Glenna's unprofessional public lynching of Mr. Miller. If there were problems, they should have been dealt with in executive session since they were personnel matters. Since, this is a done deal either way, the big question is who will be Acting Town Manager? Hopefully, not the last Town Manager they fired, Ceasrine! Who needs more toxicity in town hall with this egotistical individual. Possibilities? Otis Wyatt? He did a stint several years back. Chief Hoxsie? Locally born and raised? Maybe Glenna will moonlight and take the job herself or Chris Wilkens who always knows more than anyone. It is amazing that South Kingstown has had the same Town Manager for decades, but Narragansett has no similar record.
On the Beach May 30, 2012 at 05:07 PM
This is so dissapointing. I am amazed that this is happening without any discussion of what the actual issue is? If it is the $3,000 then someone should say it and the public can have a say already. What grounds are they firing him on? There have been more positive things accomplished since he began, than in the 8 years prior added up. the beach facility is updated, has extended hours, free movies for families, food truck night for the hipster crowd, a beach manager with actual experience in managing a park has been hired... And that is just one small part! What he has done for economic development is equally impressive. The regatta, the banners around town, the public forums to get residents involved... How can the three on the council do this? Things are finally turning around for us. I really hope they change their mind and leave him alone to finish the work he is engaged in. He owes no one anything and he does not engage in the cronyism that others have. We need him, and am frightened to think of who may wind up in his place.
Stephen Greenwell (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 05:27 PM
There was an issue with the PDF attaching earlier today, but it is fixed now.
Running While Mommy May 30, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Well said, couldn't agree more.
Karol Wojtyla May 30, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Let's hope that the Council is sober when they make this decision
Christine Tierney May 30, 2012 at 07:09 PM
And you are right - that is just to name a few of the positive changes Mr. Miller has made to our community. I disagree that 3 Council members should have the right to do this without our votes!
Dennis Gershkoff May 30, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I am very shocked and saddened by these turn of events. Grady is an upstanding individual and a fine town manager. I am very dissappointed in the individuals who are using this man's livelyhood and career this way. I think we all need to make a note as to this sad event when the responsible individuals come up for re-election. Narragansett was doing well with Grady. We all need to be held accountable for our actions. Agree or disagree with this, please let your opionion be know. The council serves for our community. Please let them know your thoughts.
I love Narragansett Beach May 30, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Completely agree.
I'm Tired of the Games May 30, 2012 at 07:43 PM
It is rather interesting that the Council waited until Mr. Miller finished his budget submission before dropping the axe. It is also amazing that the main reason he is being terminated was a budget that the Council fully approved including the funds for testing Narrow River. Hopefully, one of the three Council members who are pushing this will reconsider since they are just as guilty as Mr. Miller even though Mark McSally's report didn't address that question for obvious reasons. Nobody wanted to talk to the elephant in the room.
Joan Mulligan May 30, 2012 at 07:57 PM
This is a travesty!. Grady has been the most effective Town employee in my memory. It is clearly time for new members on the Town Council. This triumverate ( Hagopian, Crook Trainor-Fleet) needs to be disassembled. I hope the residents of Narragansett remember this on election day.
I'm Tired of the Games May 30, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Maybe the new "acting" town manager will fire the 2 hot head dept. heads who have had tantrums at recent council meetings. Ousterhout, Ceasrine, and the do nothing overpaid HR person Kitchin who makes $30K screw-ups should all be sent packing!
Robert Trager May 30, 2012 at 08:38 PM
The $3K Narrow River expense can't be the cause of this. There has to be something that's not being reported. Who knows, maybe they just don't like him. Either way, this is a circus sideshow.
Dennis Gershkoff May 30, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I am forwarding this email as a non-partisan issue. The Town Council will be meeting tomorrow night, in executive session, followed by a public hearing if necessary to terminate Town Manager Grady Miller. (davecrook27@yahoo.com; chriswilkens@cox.net; susan.buonanno@cox.net; glenna.hagopian@gmail.com; atfcouncilwoman@verizon.net) This is a situation which warrants concern from every citizen in our Town. Other than the recent dispute over the budget appropriation to the Narrow River Preservation Society to conduct water testing, we have no information as to the cause for termination. This situation begs the question: 1. Why is Grady Miller being terminated? 2. What is the total cost to the taxpayers of Narragansett for the cost of termination (recruiting, severance, etc.)? 3. Why is the taxpayer of Narragansett not been given sufficient notice of this hearing and termination? 4. Are some members of the Town Council perpetually violating the "sunshine laws" by decision-making outside Council chambers? I urge everyone reading this to email or call the Council members asap and ask for explanation. It is an issue which strikes at many levels: proper and good governance; the future of our Town; and perhaps most important: how we respond when an individual is being unfairly treated by those whom we elect to represent us. Please forward this article, call your neighbors, inform them and ask them show up and be heard at the Town Hall... 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 31.
Charles "Ted" Wright May 31, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Sad day in Narraganset, Havnt seen a council like this sence a council many years ago fired a great gentelman and admired as a town clerk and town manager named Buzzy Muligan who left here and served many years in our neighboring town of north kingstown,Iam a beliver of open goverment and when you hear the rumers that this council has promulagted. I wonder JUST WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. most of the towns would work with a manager that is trying to move a town forward. in my time ihave seen managers come and seen them move onsome were forced out but none had to battle over a nonsence issue.One thing you must rember that group of 3 has to more than any of us rember you elected them you must have thought they were smart. We will see how smart thay are when they settle up the bills for removal Grady might need a hand in the future . Iam here to tell you Iam in his corner "Ted" WRIGHT
john mac May 31, 2012 at 01:20 AM
This is an utter travesty. Mr. Miller has been a breath of fresh air, an outsider with no local agendas to manage. Perhaps that is the problem- he was an outsider; this mindless troika wants a sycophant who will do the personal bidding of the connected ones. I am shocked that David Crooke would be a member of such a cabal- shame on all three of you!
Donald May 31, 2012 at 03:03 AM
The town solicitor rendered his opinion. Some council members were correct about Mr. Miller’s reckless and irresponsible leadership. For those who sprung to his defense, either out of ignorance or blind loyalty, you should think before speaking. Now maybe the political insiders, who reap the rewards of the town managers benevolence through favors, will have to stand in line with the rest of us peasant taxpayers. How revolting. Deb and Ted should be humbled. Deb had her own 25k insider failed deal with the manager. Ted, who at taxpayers’ expense, has commandeered the community center, the Dillon Rotary and misled the town into paying for his ill fated summer shuttle service and done so with the town subsidizing his medical coverage. Do you ever wonder why there are no community events for residents of all ages at the center? I guess he had good reason to defend Mr. Miller and to attack the council. Is this Open and honest Government? Hardly! Kudos to the council members with common sense. Who else will look out for us insignificant folk with no political influence?
John May 31, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Ignorance? Blind loyalty? Political insiders? Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Jack May 31, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I will attend the meeting, and hope that there is a compelling argument from the council members for dismissing Mr. Miller. If not, there will be several citizens from my neighborhood who will remember this at the 2012 November elections.
Christine Tierney May 31, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Yes, please tell us what you mean? As far as the shuttle - didn't the Town Council approve that fabulous idea of overcrowding our already packed Town Beach rather than shuttling to say... Galilee, Sand Hill Cove, Scarborough, the ferry and businesses in Galilee that need the business? And as for the "Senior Center" - that has been the way it is long before Mr. Miller - that is a Parks and Recreation management longstanding issue.
steve May 31, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I think council is doing the right thing.Spending out of control rember the coffe room
Steve May 31, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Here's the real story: Some time ago, when the Narragansett beach manager position was being filled, Glenna Hagopian wanted to put in one of her cronies for the job. The problem is that another very talented and experienced beach manager applied for the job. Grady Miller chose the qualified and experienced candidate instead of Glenna's crony. There were several incidents that preceded the beach manager issue, but Glenna decided then to engineer Grady's termination. Flash forward to this $3000 nonsense. Glenna has probably now spent $10,000 of our money to investigate and inflame an inconsequential matter. Glenna fanned these flames enough to get Mark McSally (Town attorney) to study the matter and *surprise* say that this was inappropriate. Mark McSally knows where his bread is buttered, as he's pulling down over $130K from the Town in legal fees. Oh by the way, he donated thousands to Glenna's reelection campaign. Now Glenna just needs to move to terminate Grady...who does she turn to? Why, Mark McSally of course. Friends stick together. Glenna has already identified a replacement for Grady, and guess what...he's a "friend of the family" (Hagopian family that is). This is yet another Glenna crony who is a retired cop with ZERO experience running a Town, running a $50M budget, or running multiple departments of employees. Grady Miller was hired to put a stop to cronyism. Now Glenna's firing him because he won't play her game.
I'm Tired of the Games May 31, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Steve: Your theories may be correct of the Glenna part of the story. However, Mark McSally doesn't play the kind of games you allude to. I've known him for more than 25 years and he has ALWAYS been a stand up guy. What the Town pays, the law firm that Mark works for covers all Town legal fees except when they hire an outside gun like Kinder which cost them more tha $300K. Grady has been a breath of fresh air, but his rookiee and sophmore errors are getting him released from the Narragansett team. Too bad there isn't progressive punishment by the Council instead of the guillotine.
steve May 31, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I dont buy the conspiracy theory at all i think the people in this town dont like the job being done at town hall period.
Stephen Greenwell (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Touching base with three common questions I've gotten via e-mail: 1) I will be doing another "breaking news" alert following the meeting tonight, which I plan on attending. 2) As far as I know, tonight's meeting is not televised. Typically, only the regular school committee and town council meetings are recorded and televised. 3) If you want a letter about this published on the site, please indicate so in the body or heading or at the end of the letter.
Jill Fallon May 31, 2012 at 09:25 PM
These questions do need to be answered. It is my belief Grady Miller has been a huge advocate for our town and an asset. It feels to me he is being wrongly terminated and treated very unfairly. I am very disappointed in members of our Town Council.
Debbie June 01, 2012 at 12:59 AM
Morale at the Town Hall is at an all-time low. Grady's priorities do not include the employees of the Town, just ask them.
Debbie June 01, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I agree.
Debbie June 01, 2012 at 01:05 AM
I don't think a lot of Narragansett residents really know what goes on in this Town. If they did, they would be shocked. A lot of stuff gets swept under the rug and isn't made public. Right now you have many town employees hoping the town manager gets terminated. They know what really goes on behind the scenes and they want him OUT.
Carol June 01, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Swept under the rug Debbie? What the benefits packages? Incentive days off? Childish behavior of town workers who pout when they don't get their union ways?

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