NARRAGANSETT - On Monday evening, a full audience watched at Town Hall as the new Narragansett Town Council and School Committee members were sworn into their positions. After the swearing, the new council members sat down to conduct their first pieces of business, including listening to the public in open forum for the first time and approving the consent agenda.
James Callaghan, top vote-getter in the November 6 local election, was named as the council president unanimously, although the selection of Susan Cicilline-Buonanno as president pro-temp was met with a nay vote from Councilwoman Glenna Hagopian.
“I'd like to thank the previous town council members for the dedicated service they have given these past few years,” said Callaghan. “We ought to give that a nice round of applause.”
The new council appointed a number of new personnel to town positions on Monday evening as well. James Sheridan was named as Judge of Probate Court. A nomination of attorney Edward Avarista by Hagopian was turned down by the other council members.
John DeCubellis was unanimously named as judge of Municipal Court, while Town Clerk Anne Irons was selected to hold the magistrate/clerk of Municipal Court position. A motion to re-appoint current Town Solicitor Mark McSally was continued to the next council meeting.
“I heard a lot of people on the campaign trail who have asked us to review the town solicitor position,” said Cicilline-Buonanno. “For me, Mark has done an outstanding job, but I do think it is a new council. I'd like to take a look at it to see if that is the direction this council would like to go in.”
Council members were also appointed to serve on a number of town committees. The list of appointments are as follows: Narragansett Affordable Housing Board/Narragansett Affordable Housing Trust (Callaghan), Economic Development Committee (Cicilline-Buonanno, Douglas McLaughlin), Capital Reserves Committee (Cicilline-Buonanno, McLaughlin), Finance Committee (Hagopian), Galilee Advisory Committee/Galilee Lease Advisory Committee (Matthew Mannix), Knights of the Rockingham Arch (Hagopian), Land Conservancy Trust (Mannix, McLaughlin), Personnel Appeals Board (Hagopian), Recreation Advisory Board (Callaghan), School Committee liaison (Cicilline-Buonanno, Callaghan), Sewer Policy Committee (Callaghan, Hagopian), Towers Committee (Mannix, McLaughlin), and the Washington County Regional Forum (Callaghan, Cicilline-Buonanno).
Among other items that were discussed, the council scheduled a pre-budget work session with the School Committee for December 17 at 6:30 p.m. They also pulled and discussed a consent agenda item which would see the position of deputy chief at Narragansett Police Department eliminated and a second captain instituted. The changes were recommended by Police Chief and Acting Town Manager Dean Hoxsie.
“The officer that takes the deputy chief position has to leave the union and it is a pay cut from the captain position,” explained Hoxsie. “Back in 2010 when the past council appointed me, I asked the town manager at that time to make that change then.”
“To me, two captains with two clear sets of duties is a better option to me,” he added. “Separating the duties provides a better management because it gives everyone a clear idea of who they fall under and go to.”
Hoxsie further stated that the position would not include a pay raise and that it is not a newly created position. The organizational changes were approved unanimously after discussion.