Bad blood still lingers between Warren’s town council president and a group of residents who questioned the governing of the Bristol County Water Authority earlier this year and last.
At an otherwise benign and measured forum for Warren Town Council candidates Thursday night at town hall, council president Chris Stanley responded to BCWA critics when asked by audience member Ray Palmieri whether he regretted saying earlier this year that some residents were on a “witch hunt” and were out to get BCWA officials, most notably board chairman John Jannitto, a friend of his. Among them were Mr. Palmieri, himself now a member of the BCWA board, and Marina Peterson, who was acting as moderator of the forum sponsored by the Rhode Island Voters Coalition.
When asked by Mr. Palmieri if he regretted the statement, Mr. Stanley was resolute.
“I absolutely stand by that,” he said, looking from Mr. Palmieri over to Ms. Peterson. “And I think you and Ray were a part of that. The problem was you chased after single individuals. You weren’t after the institution, you went after people, one man in particular, John Jannitto. He’d stand here (before the council) month after month after month and take the beatings.”
Continuing, he added: “I think you had a concerted effort to go out there and attempt to upset an apple cart for absolutely no good reason. The majority of the accusations you made were baseless and false. I don’t regret making the statement at all.”
Mr. Stanley’s answer drew a loud gasp from Ms. Peterson, though Mr. Palmieri said nothing in response other than to acknowledge Mr. Stanley.