Resident files larceny complaint after town cleans her yard

DPW files grievance after manager orders cleanup

By Josh Bickford
Posted 1/14/20

On Monday, Jan. 6, employees from the town's department of public works were ordered to clean up a resident's yard on Chachapacassett Road. A day later, that resident filed a report with the town's …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Resident files larceny complaint after town cleans her yard

DPW files grievance after manager orders cleanup

Posted

On Monday, Jan. 6, employees from the town's department of public works were ordered to clean up a resident's yard on Chachapacassett Road. A day later, that resident filed a report with the town's police department, alleging that a number of items went missing from her yard during the cleanup. 

According to police, the resident said a ladder, a deck box, a shovel and a grill disappeared from her property during the cleanup, which was conducted without her permission allegedly. According to the town's revaluation website, the home is owned by Mary Gelfuso.

Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha said he was well within his rights to order the cleanup. Mr. Cunha said some people who own homes in that area have reached out to him for assistance — they said the condition of the Chachapacassett Road home has negatively impacted their properties. 

Mr. Cunha said the town had reached out to the property owner on numerous occasions, requesting she clean up her property. He said there was garbage strewn across parts of the property and vegetation was overgrown.

"If they do not respond," said Mr. Cunha, "we have the option of taking that person to district court."

The manager said that is exactly what happened back in November. Mr. Cunha said the court then ordered the resident to clean the property by a certain date, but that day came and went without any changes to the property.

Mr. Cunha said the town's building official determined the condition of the property presented a health hazard to the surrounding neighborhood. Mr. Cunha then ordered the DPW to complete a clean-up at the Chachapacassett Road home.

On Monday morning, Jan. 6, workers from the DPW arrived at the property. They picked up garbage and other items, cut back overgrown trees and shrubs and cut the lawn using a large riding mower. During the cleanup, a neighbor stopped by the property and asked what the DPW workers were doing. The neighbor allegedly told the DPW workers that when the property owner got home from work that day she was not going to be happy with the situation.

He was right. On Tuesday, Jan. 7, the property owner stopped by the town manager's office to complain about the clean-up and then filed a larceny report with the police department. Officials with the DPW said they were just doing what they were told to do when they cleaned up the property.

Mr. Cunha said he later went out and, using town money, purchased a snow shovel for the resident, after she complained that her shovel had disappeared during the cleanup.

Meanwhile, leadership for the DPW workers union filed a grievance on Monday, Jan. 6, following the cleanup. The grievance stated that the "Town violated the contract by sending unit members to clean a private property…" The union stated that the DPW should not be responsible for cleaning up private property.

Barrington DPW Director Alan Corvi denied the grievance; the union can next appeal that decision to the town manager. If that appeal is denied, the DPW can take the issue to arbitration. 

Mr. Cunha said the town will place a lien on the resident's property to pay for the cost of the cleanup. 

Other cleanups

Last week was not the first time the town has ordered the clean-up of a private residence. Last year, officials ordered a cleanup at a Bowden Avenue property. Mr. Cunha said that property was bank-owned; he said the town billed the bank for the cleanup. 

"The grass was three feet high," Mr. Cunha said. 

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

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.