by Robert Holt
MICKLETON — At their meeting on Dec. 12, the East Greenwich Township Committee discussed whether or not the community’s professional services were hired under the “fair and open” process. Mayor Fred Grant alleges that a new township solicitor has already been selected, which he claims goes against the method.
“Meetings are usually set up when new professionals are coming,” Grant commented. “’We are required to publicly advertise our positions.”
Grant said there were two ways to award contracts to professionals, “non-fair and open, and fair and open.” He added, “The law is not being followed.”
Deputy Mayor Jeff Craig felt that it was not his position to disqualify any potential candidate. “To the victors go the spoils,” Craig asserted. “Some of these positions have political backing no matter what they say.”
Committeeman Tom Decker noted that the advisor makes sure that bonds are brought to market and investors are funding the bonds.
No action was taken on the matter. “For minor financial matters it would be between myself and an auditor,” CFO Bob Law explained. “If a larger bond is needed, then I would recommend a financial advisor.”
Law mentioned that the state of the community’s budget for this year was not yet certain because of incoming engineering and legal bill totals. “Transfers are still being made, and bills are still being posted,” he clarified.
The Committee found some extra money in its Water and Sewer Department and passed a resolution cancelling unexpended funds there. “By canceling this now, it can be applied to the 2014 surplus,” Grant observed.
In the Construction Department, Decker reported that permit revenue was up 21 percent in 2013. In Waste Management, Decker praised the township’s shredding event in November as successful. The Committeeman also pointed out that the department’s waste collection was up by 11 tons, and operating expenditures had been reduced by 27 percent since 2011.
Elsewhere, Craig and Committeeman Dale Archer commended the Public Works Department for their work during a pair of early December snowstorms. In an e-mail blast, Craig also thanked East Greenwich Chief Barry Jenkins and the police department for always being on call for the township.
The Dec. 12 meeting marked the last time Grant and Craig would be representing East Greenwich in their current terms. In the public portion of the meeting, Wilfredo Rojas, a recent candidate for the Committee from Mickleton, expressed his thoughts about Grant.
“We should give him the respect he has earned for his service,” Rojas commented. “Look at the good times, and when you applauded the mayor.”
Craig thanked his family and the residents of the community for allowing him to serve. “I made mistakes along the way, but I did try to do my best for the residents of East Greenwich,” Craig said.
Craig offered only one piece of advice for oncoming Committee members Republicans Stephen Bottiglieri and James Philbin, who will be joining in January. “Don’t make it political,” he advised.
Craig, who joined the Committee in 2010, commended Grant for his nine years of service on the Committee, saying, “We’ve had our differences, but that’s what governing is all about.”
“It’s been a pleasure serving the residents of this town,” Grant noted. “It’s been a lot of work in making this town a better place.”