PROVIDENCE - Gov. Lincoln Chafee held a closed door meeting with the 39 municipal leaders of Rhode Island on Thursday, Jan. 5, at the state house. The meeting was a MESS, but that’s not to say it was disorderly or dysfunctional. MESS stands for Municipal Executives Strategy Session.
Both Richmond Town Administrator Steve Sette and Charlestown Town Administrator Bill DiLibero found the session to be a step in the right direction concerning the looming financial crises facing some Rhode Island cities and towns.
“I think it’s been very consistent that the governor is well aware of the efforts municipalities have made in doing what’s best for their communities,” DiLibero said. “He approaches this like a former mayor, because he is one.”
“It gave me, as part of the group of municipal CEOs, the opportunity to discuss with the governor the issues that need to be addressed,” he added.
DiLibero praised Chafee for his mindfulness that the state needs to work with each of the cities and towns in order to fix financial problems that face them, and have already taken severe tolls on communities like Central Falls, Woonsocket and East Providence.
“It is great the he is willing to spend the time with us,” DiLibero said.
Sette said that he thought it was great for all of the municipal leaders from around the state to hear the same thing at the same time, so that they can all be on the same page. He also spoke about Richmond in particular, and the possible impact future action or even legislation could have on the town.
“As a smaller community, we don’t have many of the same issues that the bigger cities face,” he said. He added that any state-wide initiatives or action will, however, have a trickle down effect on communities like Richmond.
So, while Sette said that the session did not necessarily have a direct impact on Richmond, it was beneficial for the town to be part of the session, and any future action that will be traced back to last Thursday’s meeting could benefit the community in the long run.
“Personally,” Sette said, “I did have a chance to speak with the governor afterward and talk bout him meeting with the leaders of smaller communities individually.”
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