Probe focuses on Tiverton maintenance foreman

Bob Martin (left) responds to questions from Channel 10 reporter. Still frame image courtesy of WJAR - Ch. 10. Bob Martin (left) responds to questions from Channel 10 reporter. Still frame image courtesy of WJAR - Ch. 10.

Bob Martin (left) responds to questions from Channel 10 reporter. Still frame image courtesy of WJAR - Ch. 10.

Bob Martin (left) responds to questions from Channel 10 reporter. Still frame image courtesy of WJAR – Ch. 10.

TIVERTON — Investigations by State Police and a television station are said to be focusing on Tiverton’s Maintenance Foreman Bob Martin and his “use of town resources.”

The Town Council Monday night had an item on its Closed Executive Session agenda entitled “Investigative Proceedings – Procedure.”

When it emerged from the closed door session at around 10:20 p.m., the council released a statement, which said, in its entirety, “In open session Council President Roderick announced accusations have been made against a town employee. The Rhode Island State Police are investigating the accusations. No action was taken in Executive Session.”

WJAR-TV Channel 10 will broadcast the results of what it calls an extensive investigation at 6 p.m. this Thursday.

The investigation concerns Mr. Martin’s “use of town resources on town time,” said Channel 10 News Director Chris Lanni, and may involve private property Mr. Martin owns.

“We’ve worked on the story for several months,” Mr. Lanni said.

Asked about the television investigation, Mr. Martin said, “I can’t make a comment, because I don’t know.”

When he was asked if the television investigator had asked him about the use of town resources for work on property he owns, Mr. Martin said, “if that’s what they’re looking at, but I don’t know.”

“They wanted to interview me,” he said. “They made some accusations.”

Word of the television station’s investigation has been buzzing around Tiverton Town Hall for several days. During the day Monday, and before the council meeting, town councilors Joan Chabot and Brett Pelletier both said they’d heard about it but said they didn’t know more.

A promotional video about the investigation, and its upcoming Thursday broadcast, was aired by Channel 10 Monday morning, Monday night, and Tuesday morning, said Town Clerk Nancy Mello, who said she saw them all. Ms. Mello attends all council executive sessions.

Responding to a question, whether there were other town employees against whom accusations may have been made that the council was considering, Ms. Mello said the accusation against Mr. Martin is “the only accusation that we have.”

Town Administrator James Goncalo said he could “neither confirm or deny” the investigation against Mr. Martin. Town Solicitor Andrew Teitz said the same.

Town Council President Ed Roderick said that he had heard about and could confirm the television station’s investigation of Mr. Martin.

A part-time town employee and assistant to Mr. Martin, Larry Faulkner, quit his job with the town last Thursday, said Mr. Goncalo. Mr. Faulkner could not be reached for this story.

Raised in Tiverton, a graduate of its schools, and a Vietnam veteran, Mr. Martin has worked for the town since 1988. For years he has served as the president of the AFSCME  local (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees). For a profile about him in this paper several years ago, he said he takes care of the town’s buildings, beaches and recreation areas, and does “anything anyone else doesn’t want to do. My job is unique.” He said then that, with his son, he is owner of some 38 apartments in the area. He has been instrumental in developing the skate park and other facilities at Bulgarmarsh Recreation Area.

 

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