Editorial: Barrington is outsourcing leadership

Posted 11/6/20

Toward the end of the Barrington Town Council meeting on Monday night, councilors approved a $25,000 annual contract with NDM Consulting to serve as the town’s emergency management …

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Editorial: Barrington is outsourcing leadership

Posted

Toward the end of the Barrington Town Council meeting on Monday night, councilors approved a $25,000 annual contract with NDM Consulting to serve as the town’s emergency management coordinator.

Town Manager Jim Cunha said NDM offered the best bang for the town’s bucks, compared to the four other bids submitted for the work, including one from a Maryland-based company. They said NDM offered a call-back service during an emergency. (A closer look at the bid showed that NDM has a call-back rate of $25 per hour, with a minimum of four hours to be taken as comp time the following week.)

Setting aside the perception that this council seems incapable of thwarting any spending decision from this town manager; that it continues to spend at will and inflate the cost of town government amidst the most uncertain economy in generations; or that outsourcing local emergency management seems dubious, maybe even foolish, the fact is that none of Monday night’s bids could hold a candle to Vic.

Vic is the late Victor Teixeira, who, for more than 42 years, served as Barrington’s civil defense director. The position was the precursor to what towns now call an emergency management coordinator.

Mr. Teixeira, who ran Vic’s Texaco on Maple Avenue for decades, began serving as civil defense director in 1974, filling the role under three different town managers. He was there during the Blizzard of ’78, spending so much time helping others in town that he hardly saw his family for a week. He was there during the hurricanes and power outages; he opened the shelters and coordinated teams of volunteers. During a blinding snowstorm, he led a group that helped airlift a seriously ill boy so that he could be taken to a hospital.

Vic’s dedication to the position was unparalleled: “Throughout the years, he left his business often to take care of emergency management issues. We, his family, knew we were expected to hold down the fort both at home and at his business to free him up to carry out the duties he had promised he would," said his daughter, Mary Teixeira.

Vic retired from the position in 2017 and passed away more than a year ago.

The town handed off the duties to Barrington Fire Chief Gerald Bessette, but on Monday night, Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha said Chief Bessette needed to focus on his other full-time job, referring to his fire department work.

It is too bad — but not very surprising — that Barrington could not find another Vic Teixeira to step in as the next emergency management coordinator. People like Vic are hard to come by.

Oh, and for the record, Vic did the job for about $3,000 a year.

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Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.