Commission expected to reinstate embattled East Providence police chief Tavares

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Embattled East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares was expected to be reinstated to his position in charge of the department, for the time being at least, when the Budget Commission gathered for its latest meeting Thursday afternoon, May 23, in City Hall.

Chief Tavares was put on administrative leave by City Manager Peter Graczykowski back on April 15 while he and Human Resources Director Kathleen Waterbury conducted an investigation into what The Post learned were numerous and outstanding personnel complaints initiated by officers under the chief’s charge.

Three days later, April 18, State Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth, at the behest of Commission member and City Council President James Briden, reseated the Commission.

The status of Chief Tavares was the No. 1 item on the Commission agenda for its May 23 gathering and was being brought up for discussion by Chairman Diane Brennan.

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, a member of the Rhode Island State Police was also expected to be appointed to conduct a further investigation into the charges against the chief as well some he, himself, leveled against members of the department in countering the accusations he faced.

At the May 2 Budget Commission, its first since being reinstated for personnel matters, Director Gallogly, whose department oversees the state-appointed board, admitted the impetus for her decision to bring back the Commission was partly based on concerns raised by Mr. Graczykowski’s choice to place Chief Tavares on leave barely three weeks after the state-appointed body returned control of personnel issues to local administrators.

“Well obviously putting the police chief on administrative leave was something we needed to understand. We wanted to make sure the appropriate actions were taken in that process. We want to make sure it’s not subject to any legal challenges,” Director Gallogly said at the time. “We also want to be sure the stability of the city, obviously, is secure. And there were other actions that were necessary to take a look at, so we felt it was best to bring the Commission back.”

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