EAST PROVIDENCE — As expected, the East Providence City Council voted to remove Peter Graczykowski as City Manager at its meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 5, in the City Hall Chamber, doing so by a 4-1 vote.
Councilors James Briden, Tommy Rose, Helder Cunha and Tracy Capobianco voted in the affirmative on the resolution to drop Mr. Graczykowski as manager. Only Councilman Chrissy Rossi voted against. Mr. Graczykowski was dismissed without cause, which was permissible according to City Charter after he had completed one year of service in the position. Mr. Graczykowski was hired in September of 2011 and formally took the position in October of that year.
Mrs. Rossi offered up a defense of the city manager during public comment prior to the vote. She credited the manager with helping East Providence “survive” the state-appointed Budget Commission and helping guide the city to financial stability as well as improved status with bond ratings agencies.
She also cautioned the Council about what she saw was the prohibitive cost of firing Mr. Graczykowski, who would be owed approximately $93,000 in severance pay in addition to any accrued sick and vacation pay.
Two members of the public spoke on the topic, one for and one against the move. Freddy Rybka backed Mr. Graczykowski, saying several city employees had urged him to voice his and their support for the manager. Canvassing Commission Chairman Tom Riley stated his opposition to the manager, noting the manager’s cuts to the Canvassing Department as well as his entanglement in the attempted removal of East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares earlier this year.
All the while, Mr. Graczykowski sat stoically on the dais, in his usual seat between Council President Briden and Councilman Cunha, the latter who proposed the resolution for his removal. He hardly moved while City Clerk Kim Casci-Palangio, at the request of Councilman Rossi, read the resolution in full, or as the Council went through a roll call vote. When the decision had been rendered, Mr. Graczykowski quickly rose from his chair and left the Chamber.
The Council later agreed to set a special meeting on the matter Friday, Nov. 8, in the City Hall Chamber at 5 p.m. where it will appoint an acting City Manager.
After a brief recess, the Council also approved a motion to make City Solicitor Tim Chapman the “point of contact” for any issues that may arise prior to the appointment of an acting manager.