Budget Commission passes on consolidation, seats East Providence city solicitors

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EAST PROVIDENCE — The mini-saga involving the solicitor positions for the city and the school department was finally put to rest Thursday afternoon, Jan. 31, when the East Providence Budget Commission passed on the notion of consolidating legal representation and seated the appointees of the City Council and School Committee.

Tim Chapman, as city solicitor, Bob Craven and Greg Dias, as the assistants, and the law firm fronted by Bob Silva, the solicitor for the schools, were each formally appointed by a unanimous vote of the Commission.

Messrs. Craven and Silva are holdovers, remaining in positions held under previous administrations. Mr. Chapman, of Riverside, holds the solicitor post for the first time, though he was a past assistant solicitor for 16 years, ending in 2008. Mr. Dias, also of the city, returns to an assistant position he once held in East Providence from 1984 to 2008.

“It’s nice to be back with the city,” Mr. Chapman said Friday, Feb. 1. “The city has a number of highly professional, caring employees and I look forward to working with them again.

“I’m also looking forward to working with an excellent City Council, City Manager and two excellent assistant solicitors. We need to work hard to help the city move forward in the right direction.”

Unlike the months-long, drawn-out discussion over the possibility of consolidating the legal affair of the city, there was barely a discussion among the Commission on the matter Thursday.

A sub-committee consisting of Commission members Michael O’Keefe and Peter Graczykowski, the City Manager, as well as City Council president Jim Briden, School Committee chair Joel Monteiro and Interim Schools Superintendent Dr. John DeGoes previously reviewed some two dozen bids on consolidation.

Thursday, after two sub-committee meetings, the group recommended the Commission “reject” all bids approve the appointments made by the Council and School Committee back on Dec. 3 of last year.

Mr. Chapman was appointed on a yearly salary of $65,000. Mr. Craven and Mr. Dias were appointed with yearly stipends of $40,000. None are city employees, as was the case in the past and their rates of pay are flat. Mr. Silva’s law firm was retained for the schools at a rate of $150 per hour of service.

The solicitors, who were ceremonially sworn in back in December, were formally seated Thursday afternoon during a procedure at the conclusion of the Budget Commission meeting.

“It’s a great pleasure to be a resident of the city and to have the opportunity to give back to the community,” Mr. Chapman added. “I hit the ground running (Friday) morning. I’ve been working on some things already. I’m looking forward to helping get the city back on the right path.”

Mr. Chapman, who takes the place of Orlando Andreoni as city solicitor, participates in his first City Council meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 5, at City Hall.

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