COVENTRY – The Central Coventry Task Force for Fire Protection met last Wednesday to endorse seven candidates to run for the Central Coventry Fire District (CCFD) Board of Directors and to discuss Superior Court Judge Brian Stern’s ruling on May 17 that outlines the duties of the board following the June 29 election.
“Ultimately, there isn’t any one person in this town who will make the final decision besides the voters — they have the ultimate decision,” said taskforce co-chair Fred Gralinski.
One Central Coventry Fire district resident said despite all the court hearings and information that’s been out in the public, it still feels like everything is going “every which way.”
“We voted three times and it didn’t matter,” said another.
Gralinski agreed with the people but asked them to instead focus on the points the judge made and pay attention to the ramifications.
“If the new board is able to put together something for the voters to approve then the district doesn’t CANDIDATES, from 1
have to close,” he said. “Our mission is to follow the judge’s order.”
In his May 17 ruling Stern stated that the board would develop a short and long-term plan for the future of the CCFD to be implemented on or before September 1, 2013; will formulate a budget for the fiscal year that includes in part, a plan to satisfy the outstanding liabilities, including administrative expenses; they will recommend a tax levy and tax rate to the voters to sustain the budget approved by the board; and will work together with Special Master Richard Land to allow each to fulfill their respective delegated authority. It will provide the court and special master every two weeks a written update on its progress towards fulfilling its authority. The board will also have authority to negotiate with the firefighers’ union.
Rep. Patricia Morgan (R-Warwick, West Warwick, Coventry) said the goal of the taskforce is to not only put together a new board, but to have a contingency plan so there’s something to follow immediately if the budget is rejected in September.
The nomination committee, consisting of David Henry, Rose Veerier and Bob Bjorklund, presented the seven nominees — Richard Poilselli, Helen Quinn, Gralinski, Cindy Fagan, Dave Gervis, Marie Baker and Bob Hagley.
The list of candidates does not include residents who are not involved with the taskforce.
Along with endorsing their candidates, members also organized days and times to do a literature drop on Saturday’s from now until the budget vote and were able to sign up to post a signage on their property, asking others to join in their plight.
Dist. 33 Senator Lou Raptakis (Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) said after the meeting that he has plans to amend two portions of his bill.
“If the budget fails and all three fire districts have to approve a merge, it should be up to each remaining district if they wish to take a piece of the CCFD,” said Raptakis. “The second amended portion is that if there are discussions to become one district in town, then there should be a town-wide, one-day referendum vote to ask the question if the other three districts want to form one.”
The senator said this is what East Greenwich and Cumberland have done.
“Anyone who is against this bill is out for their own interests and against public safety,” he said.