EAST PROVIDENCE — By a 3-2 vote at its meeting Tuesday night, April 16, the East Providence City Council removed Manuel Sousa from his seat on the city’s Personnel Hearing Board.
Mr. Sousa, a declared member of the East Providence Democratic City Committee, was deemed ineligible to serve in the non-partisan position.
City Solicitor Timothy Chapman told the Council Mr. Sousa was in violation of East Providence ordinance section 11-27, which states no member of the (personnel) board should be a member of a local political party.
Solicitor Chapman said Mr. Sousa, of 1449 Broadway, became a member of the East Providence Ward 2 Democratic Committee in December of 2002.
Solicitor Chapman said several attempts were made to contact Mr. Sousa to appear before the Council for a “Show Cause” hearing, which would have afforded him the opportunity to address the qualification issue. Mr. Sousa, however, did not respond to any of the letters, including one sent by certified mail.
Councilors Tracy Capobianco, Thomas Rose and Chrissy Rossi voted for a motion to remove Mr. Sousa. Councilors James Briden and Helder Cunha voted against.
Solicitor Chapman informed the Council the motion it approved at its April 2 meeting, adopting a real estate contract with the firm Keller Williams to handle all city owned property up for sale at a commission rate of five percent, was not in accordance with the City Charter.
Gerry Leach, the new City Purchasing Agent, later told the Council the reason for the breach of Charter was that only one of the four sealed bidders in the process, Keller Williams, was present at the meeting. And, again according to the Charter, that individual entity was given “preferential” treatment. Mr. Leach will now go out to all four bidders for a last-and-final offers.
The initial bids ranged from four to seven percent rates of commission. Mr. Leach said he will have a bid tabulation sheet prepared for the Council to review at its May 7 meeting.
City Manager Peter Graczykowski announced the CDBG public hearing scheduled for April 16 has been moved to the next City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 7.
James Boyd was unanimously reappointed to the Conservation Commission. In addition, Karen Doucet and Steve Sousa were unanimously appointed to the newly-created city Soccer Committee while Kim Nunes received the same support for placement on the likewise new Fireworks Committee.
For the second time in as many meetings, the Council heard vociferous opposition to the resolution it passed unanimously in support of the same-sex marriage legislation pending in the General Assembly.
Despite being admonished, mostly by those expressing their disagreements based on religious beliefs with some others objecting on constitutional grounds, and asked to rescind its vote, the Council maintained its stance on the subject.