Councilman Faria Responds to Colleague Botelho
Ward Four councilman Brian Faria has released a response to Ward Three Joe Botelho's statements regarding a YouTube posting purporting to have Mayor JIm Briden making comments about EP teacher negotiations and Ward One councilman Bob Britto.
“It’s obvious the Mayor was having a conversation with another council member and didn’t know he was being secretly recorded,” Botelho said recently. “You can tell the recording was edited and was meant to cast the Mayor in the worst possible light.”
Brian Faria's response: "If one wanted to insinuate, we could refer to Councilman Botehlo's latest press release as the ultimate attempt of a spin". It's dramatic and fantastical, which I'm not at all surprised by, but I've learned that's just Joe," writes Faria.
"I would venture to say that all of us on the Council know each other's personalities at this point. Mayor Briden stated it that it was not him on that audio and I'm not going to comment on that for we need to work together. However, I am deeply concerned about the remarks made to the press by Councilman Botelho.
Councilman Botelho now asserts that this recent audio was somehow an intimidation regarding the Teacher's contract, citing the timing on the ‘eve’ of the contract, raises questions regarding its validity, but yet, Councilman Botehlo voted in favor of the contract , after the said audio was released but did not raise any of these concerns at the meeting nor did he ask for any postponement of the matter. To make such an absolute dramatic accusation without any evidentiary support is absolutely reckless. These are all fabrications," continued Faria.
"Just previous to this Special Council Meeting, I had a long conference with the Finance director, Financial Adviser Paul Luba and City Manager and reviewed the Teacher's contract in length. I also held several meetings with the City's Finance director over the last two weeks. "I certainly was not intimidated nor did anyone else in that room appear to be". And I'm certainly not entertaining that foolishness. Perhaps this may entertain on Broadway, but not on Taunton ave.
"Furthermore, Councilman Botelho’s request for a moratorium on critical city business, including important contracts and reviews of claims against the city is not one that we should entertain or give any credence to without supporting evidence or a substantial preliminary showing that any executive sessions have been compromised. It's as if now he's just making up scenarios and stories and running with it." I choose to stay on the earthly plain.
We should put aside the manufactured drama in the city and move forward. The merits of these recordings are not a matter that we as Council members should weigh in on. The electors of this city are able to make effective judgements regarding their at-large council member without salacious comments from the other members of the Council. I will continue to concentrate on my constituency and the work we have ahead," finished the Faria statement.
During the City Council meeting of August 24th, the council unanimously approved a new contract for East Providence teachers. The new contract moves local teachers on the top payment step from about the lowest paid in Rhode Island to near middle of the pack. The teacher contract has been a sore spot for many educators after they were relegated to being one of the lowest paid in New England and had benefits slashed as well as retirees being cut back.
“This should help us compete for new teacher talent and hopefully help to keep our good teachers here instead of leaving our system,” said at-large school committee member Joel Monteiro. The contract also limits the ability of teachers to take personal leaves while seeking employment elsewhere. There appears to be more parameters for job bidding and other efforts to improve stability and proper teacher development.