Fake News in EP?
Councilman Botelho Issues Statement after Raucous Meeting
Following the last City Council meeting on September 5th, which has many in East Providence buzzing over the argumentative nature throughout most of the session, Ward Three Councilman Joe Botelho issued a press release pointing a finger at Ward Four Councilman Brian Faria.
The Botelho Statement in its entirety:
“During our last city council meeting, while Councilman Faria was deflecting charges that he secretly records other members of the city council, he made reference to a “so called” secret or illegal meeting between himself, myself, Mr. Britto, and Brian’s father John Faria, (who called the meeting) the chairman of the East Providence Democratic City Committee, of which we were all members.
In his continued attempt to deflect charges of secretly recording other council people, Brian Faria is painting this gathering as some sort of “dark backroom conspiracy” where all city appointments were discussed to and agreed to ahead of time.
Let me assure all of you that nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact of the matter is, that party caucuses and meetings are specifically exempt from the open meetings law so there was nothing nefarious about it. (Reference RIGL 42-46-2(3))
Second, Councilman Faria wanted to make appointments that myself and Mr. Britto found totally unpalatable, and when myself and Mr. Britto related that to him, he disappeared and we didn’t hear from him for weeks. Meanwhile, while Brian Faria was shopping his vote for Mayor in exchange for appointments, I was attempting to solicit an opinion form the State Attorney General’s office relative to allowing all five members of the “city council elect” to gather in executive session to coherently set up the government for the upcoming term. The AG’s office ultimately refused to opine on the matter leaving us all in limbo.
Now the facts that follow are hard for Brian Faria to explain relative to such “conspiracy theories” he tries to sell the unknowing public.
For example, one of the most political appointments outlined by state law relate to the cities Canvassing authority, as the law calls for members of all recognized political parties in the State of Rhode Island to be represented on that board.
Mr. Peter Barilla, a Democrat, whose term had expired, was up for reappointment, and although there was already a Republican on this board, Mr. Faria, along with Mayor Jim Briden and Councilwoman Anna Sousa voted for Republican Tom Riley, over the objection of myself and Mr. Britto.
Furthermore, just a few weeks later, Mr. Britto and myself placed former City Manager Richard Kirby’s name the docket for reappointment to that position as we felt he was unjustly fired by the previous council. Expecting an affirmative vote based on Mr. Faria’s campaign rhetoric, myself and Mr. Britto were astonished when Mr. Faria along with Mayor Briden and Anna Sousa voted against Kirby’s appointment.
So, for two of the most political appointments in the city, canvassing board and city manager, Mr. Britto and myself were left in the dust. Based on those results, myself and Mr. Britto must be the two worst co-conspirators on the face of the earth or the account of these events Mr. Faria is selling everyone is just “Fake News.”
Governing a municipality in today’s world is a very difficult task as resources are scarce and every constituency begs to be served. Most of us try to do our best with what’s available, while as each day passes, decisions become more difficult to make. Having a member on the council who is constantly undermining us based on his behavior and hysterical charges, makes it almost impossible to move forward. Hopefully things will change, but I’ve never yet seen a leopard change its spots.”