Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 08-08-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | AUGUST 8-14, 2019 NORTH COUNTY 11 sent a letter to Chief Donald Delaere placing him on adminis- trative leave the day after the July 19 meeting was canceled. Groves said it was in the inter- est of Delaere's health, safety and welfare that he be placed on paid administrative leave immediately. In a letter to the town solicitor, Delaere alleges that Town Council President James Brady defamed the chief 's character and created a hostile work environment. Resident and Scituate Democrat Michael Marcello filed his APRA complaint due to what he calls "serious and systematic violations" of the Access to Public Records Act. "So much for transparency," Marcello said of the current coun- cil, whose campaign relied on transparency in government. "With only six months in office, they called an emergency meeting for a Saturday and then canceled it, have given conflicting state- ments on the timing of the alleged suspension of the chief of police, and now refuse to provide docu- ments related to the suspension," Marcello said. Marcello said he requested mul- tiple documents, including: • All communications between the town clerk and council regard- ing the scheduling of the emer- gency meeting; • All communication between the council and police chief including inquiry or requests for police detail scheduling or shift details; • The chief 's contract of employ- ment; • The document announcing the chief 's placement on administrative leave; • All communication on the interference by any town official; • And any response regarding the letter for administrative leave. In a partial response to his APRA request, Marcello received 20 pages of documents, including one completely blacked-out with redactions. According to the response, for an additional fee of $150, the town would continue to search through the "voluminous amount of record sought. It included an estimate of 10 hours of research, and stated there would be a 20-day extension on the full response beyond the 10 business days provided by law. In his complaint, Marcello said many of the emails provided were heavily redacted, while the Groves letter informing the chief of his administrative leave lacks informa- tion regarding the time and man- ner it was sent. "This information is critical since there appears to be some discrep- ancy between the public record and public statement as to the date on when the chief was placed on administrative leave. The emails should be produced in unredacted form," the complaint reads. Marcello, an attorney, said the town violated the APRA by pro- viding a fully redacted email from the chief to the town solicitor. He said the town should have stated that "no portion of the document or record contains reasonably seg- regable information that is releas- able." Resident Richard Finnegan filed a similar complaint regarding the email Delaere sent to the town solicitor on Brady's alleged actions. Finnegan said that the chief pub- licly stated the nature of his email and his reasons for leaving. Since the subject matter was disclosed publicly, he said the let- ter would not be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and should be released. "The Attorney (General's) Office will be watching Scituate closely if they keep getting complaints," Finnegan said. The Valley Breeze & Observer put in a request at Town Hall for the document from Groves related to putting Delaere on administra- tive leave, and received a heavily redacted letter in response that was missing key details. The Town Council received an unfavorable decision from Attorney Gen. Peter Neronha in June for violating the Open Meetings Act. The violation occurred last September when the former council voted to freeze Land Trust and Conservation Commission funds. Neronha said the council did not specify the freezing of accounts on the meeting's agenda, and there- fore violated the OMA by voting on the item without providing proper notice. COMPLAINTS From Page One DELAERE Rotary Club hosts Family Fun Festival SCITUATE – The Scituate Rotary Club will host a Family Fun Festival on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Esek Hopkins Field, across from the Rhode Island State Police Headquarters, Danielson Pike, North Scituate. There will be games, pony rides, Touch a Truck, yard sales, and ven- dors. This event is for the benefit of the Scituate Rotary playground's renova- tions. The playground is located on Battey Meeting House Road. For more information, contact Sharon Johnson at Agsharon7950@ gmail.com or 401-749 -7893. Cuddles of Hope fundraiser set for Sunday SMITHFIELD – A fundraiser to benefit nonprofit Cuddles of Hope will be held at Twelve Acres, 445 Douglas Pike, on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be food, music, raffles, a bouncy house for kids, and a cash bar. Visit https://tinyurl.com/y4dyj5ql for tickets and more information. IN BRIEF do you know? You're holding 1 newspaper, but we fill 5 every week! They're all at valleybreeze.com

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