Briden says he's amenable to meeting about East Providence schools

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EAST PROVIDENCE — At least one of the three City Councilors called to task for being uncooperative last week by their counterparts on the East Providence School Committee says he is, in fact, amenable to discussing the plight of the department's tired facilities.

Ward 1's James Briden, the Council president and ceremonial mayor, contacted The Post and eastbayri.com via email on the July 4 holiday to clarify his position and scuttle any notion he was resistant to meeting with his cohorts on both the Council and the School Committee about the matter.

Wrote Mr. Briden, "I have never objected to meeting with the School Committee and have contacted (School Committee Chairman) Joel Monteiro and (Ward 4 Councilman) Chrissy Rossi by email suggesting an approach to facilitate an effective way of addressing the school building issues. Just thought it would be good to clarify this matter."

Mr. Briden was responding to a story published on eastbayri.com July 29 and in the July 3 print edition of The Post in which he along with Ward 2's Helder Cunha and Ward 3's Thomas Rose were accused of balking at getting together with their School Committee counterparts to discuss the rapidly declining state of East Providence High School, especially.

Members of the School Committee, at a special meeting held June 28, claimed Messrs. Briden, Cunha and Rose were being unresponsive in regards to putting a plan in place to bring the EPHS building up to standards required for it to keep its accreditation.

One Committee member in particular, Anthony Ferreira, was pointed in his remarks, saying “If we don’t work together, there’s an election in 15 months and I’m going to try to remove you from your seat” if the same Council members continued to be uncooperative. Mr. Ferreira went so far as to say he would put a sign on his van with the Councilors’ names and noting their refusal to tackle the issue.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.