NARRAGANSETT — On Monday night, the Narragansett town council approved a pair of motions seeking to fill vacancies for the positions of town clerk and parks and recreation director. The move comes as Theresa Donovan, town clerk, and Steven Wright, parks and recreation director, announced their retirements.
“I’d like to just say it’s really been an absolute pleasure and my honor to work for the people and residents of this community,” said Wright. “I love this job and the wonderful people and organizations that have supported this department.”
“It’s not an ‘I’ job, it’s a team,” he continued. “I’ve been working with a great team here. For no other reason, I’ve been doing this for 46 years and I want to enjoy my family. I want to thank you all for the support. Thank you so much.”
Wright has been serving as the town’s parks and recreation director since 2012. Responsibilities in the role include overseeing the town beach, maintenance and upkeep of town parks and its youth summer camp and recreational activities such as youth sports and more. Wright also serves on the town’s recreation advisory committee as a liaison between the board and the group. Prior to coming to Narragansett, he oversaw state beaches at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. He has nearly 50 years of experience in parks and recreation work.
“There’s going to be large shoes to fill,” said council president Jesse Pugh. “I think everyone agrees that Steve does a fantastic job with the beach, with operations in general across town.”
“Steve has decided to move on and enjoy his retirement,” said Narragansett Town Manager James Tierney. “We’re going to miss him. I hate to see him go, but I certainly understand.”
All other council members echoed similar sentiments and appreciation, with councilor Patrick Murray commenting, “[Wright] certainly made me a better councilman.”
Wright’s last day is slated for June 15. He said he plans to complete the preparation and work required for the town operation for the summer before that date. The town is currently advertising the position and will begin interviewing candidates soon. According to the town council and town officials, Narragansett plans to fill the vacancy prior to Wright’s departure.
Donovan has served within the Narragansett Town Clerk Department for nearly 12 years, and was promoted to lead the department in 2017. The town clerk department is responsible for the management of the town’s boards and commissions, its board of canvassers, along with land evidence records, licenses, the probate court and registry of vital statistics. The mission of the office is to make publicly available town records, documents and information accessible, as well as to protect and preserve the integrity of the town’s historical documents.
This office is also responsible for the preparation and maintenance of all town voting records and the administration of all national, state and local elections, as well as any special elections through the board of canvassers.
“We just lost a leg with Steve, now we’re losing an arm,” said Murray. “The town may need to go on life support for awhile.”
“It’s going to be very difficult to replace you,” said Pugh. “But we will move on and wish you the best down south. Thank you for everything.”
Donovan’s last day is slated for July 13, about a month after Wright’s planned exit. Like the parks and director vacancy, the town is already advertising the position after Monday night’s approval and will begin interviewing candidates soon.
Both motions were unanimously approved by the council.