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Newport Rhode Island – 11 Charter Review Commission Ideas Head to Ballot

TweetList of Members City of Newport Charter Commission email: newportcharterreview@cityofnewport.com Final Report of The Commission – May 2014 http://www.cityofnewport.com/government/board-and-commissions/commissions/charter-review-commission-2013 After five months of study by the Charter Review Commission (CRC) and weeks of deliberations by City Council, several proposed changes to Newport’s Charter will move forward to the Nov. 4 ballot for voters to determine their ultimate fate. Councilors wrapped up debate on the 20 CRC recommendations at their regular meeting on Wednesday, July 23, and decided to send 11 items to the electorate. However, the CRC’s more contentious ideas regarding School Committee selection and expanding the current three-ward system to four met the same fate as in the first round of voting on July 9. They did not survive council muster, notwithstanding a change in position by Councilor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano that narrowed the margin. Joining the side of Councilors Kathryn Leonard and Michael Farley in hoping to move the ward is- sues to the ballot, Napolitano told Newport This Week just prior to the July 23 session that she had re-examined her stance since her initial comments on July 9, when she had intimated that there was no reason to return to a four-ward system. “While I haven’t changed my mind on […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - August 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY   Tags:

Listen now! RIPR interviews Jane Howington – departing Newport RI City Manager

TweetNewport City Manager Cites Difficult City Council In Decision To Step Down. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison sat down with her at her office in City Hall to find out why she resigned and what lies ahead for Newport. http://ripr.org/post/newport-city-manager-cites-difficult-city-council-decision-step-down#comment-1502168126    By Elisabeth Harrison Tomorrow is the last day on the job for Newport City Manager Jane Howington. She’s taken a similar job in Ohio after 2 and a half years running Newport City government. Howington leaves amid reports of friction with the Newport City Council.   Jane Howington in her Newport office. Credit Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR       Related articles Hudson selects city manager

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Posted by NewportAlliance - July 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY, News   Tags:

The Newport Daily News says; “Let charter proposals go to voters!”

TweetSign the petition here! http://newportalliance.org/sign-the-petition-asking-newport-city-council-to-allow-voters-to-decide-ward-representation-issues/ Published in The Newport Daily News, Tuesday, July 22, 2014  Since last November, a Charter Review Commission has been meeting regularly, including holding a number of public hearings, to discuss potential changes to Newport’s charter.  But earlier this month, the City Council by a 5-2 vote rejected the commission’s major recommendations, including changing the number of voting wards in the city and how School Committee members would be elected. “There is not much left of our recommendations,” Isabel Griffith, commission chairwoman, said after the July 10 vote. “Obviously, the City Council members feel they know better than ourselves what is best for us.” The council will get a chance to change its mind this week, when the recommendations will come up for reconsideration during its meeting Wednesday night. We hope it will reverse course and send all 20 recommendations to voters on Nov. 4. Any personal objections council members may have with the recommendations should not interfere with the decision to send the proposed amendments to voters. Earlier this year, for example, council members speedily approved asking voters to approve table games for Newport Grand, regardless of their individual stances on gambling, citing the “people’s right […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - July 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY, SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION   Tags:

Sign the Petition – asking Newport City Council to allow voters to decide ward representation issues.

TweetYour voice, your opinion, your community matters! ACT NOW to show your support – read the details below. Scroll down to see Organizations and Individuals Signing a Statement of Support Scroll down to read the entire Letter to Members of the Newport City Council Please SIGN the PETITION to show your support! *your personal information (email address) will NEVER be shared with anyone. To:      Members of the City Council of Newport, RI From:  Citizens of Newport, RI Re:      City Council decision not to allow certain recommendations from the Charter Review Commission to be placed on the ballot (Changes related to Sections 2-1; 3-4; 3-7; and 8-2 of the Charter) As organizations and individuals that work with citizens and groups all across Newport, we wish to express our disappointment and disagreement with the City Council’s decision in its meeting on July 9th with regard to the recommendations provided by the Charter Review Commission (CRC).   We feel that that decision by the council to reject four of the CRC’s recommendations concerning the number of ward versus at large council seats and the application of wards to the School Committee and not allow these recommendations to go in front of the voters on the ballot […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - July 21, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Categories: 5 Focus Areas - Categories Updates, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY   Tags:

The League of Women Voters says “Charter proposals should go to Newport voters”!

Tweet  The League of Women Voters (http://www.lwvri.org) believes that a democratic government depends upon informed and active participation of its citizens and that government should be responsive to the will of the people. The Newport City Council followed these principles when it appointed the Charter Review Commission, made up of representative group of citizens, to review the city’s charter. The charge to the committee — according to Mayor Harry Winthrop, who was quoted in The Newport Daily News — was to not be afraid of “hot button” issues. The commission went to work and made every effort to engage the community. League members attended commission meetings and later hearings about the proposed changes. The commission worked hard, listened, reflected, and responded to the concerns of city employees, elected officials, committee and commission members, and citizens. The commission did its duty. At its July 9 meeting, the City Council reacted to the commission’s efforts by voting against including on the November ballot any of the substantive recommendations presented by the commission, in particular proposed changes in Newport’s system of electing council and school board members, an issue that came up often at the Charter Review Commission meetings and hearings. The league did not expect […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - July 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

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The Finance Review Committee (FRC) and Charter Review Commission (CRC)

TweetALN Hosts Finance and Charter Panels By Barry Bridges The Finance Review Committee (FRC) and Charter Review Commission (CRC) recently discussed their findings in a public forum sponsored by Alliance for a Livable Newport. After months of work, their reports were presented to City Council on May 28 and are presently under consideration. The FRC, under the leadership of Ronald Becker, compiled a lengthy list of ideas for city leaders with the goal of creating efficiencies and saving money. The recommendations were grouped into broad categories of city services, schools, financial planning, tax exempt property, tourism, and salaries and benefits. Concerning the schools, the FRC proposed creating a dedicated grant-writing position; combining the city and school finance functions under one department; improving communications through the city/school liaison subcommittee; and implementing strategies to reduce high per-pupil expenditures. Other ideas included pursuing payments-in-lieu-of-taxes from tax exempt entities and increasing parking meter revenues by expanding hours and street coverage. The panel also offered specific changes to pensions and medical benefits to improve Newport’s bottom line. Becker emphasized that at this point, all of the proposals are recommendations for action by the council. The committee hopes to receive steady progress reports on the status […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - July 4, 2014 at 9:56 am

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY, News, SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION   Tags:

A call to action for all Newport voters – PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO DECIDE!

TweetThis past May, the Newport City Council received the reports it commissioned from two groups of volunteer residents. One group is the Finance Review Committee (FRC), tasked with coming up with ideas to reduce the City’s expenses and increase its revenues. The last such committee was commissioned over twenty years ago. The other group is the Charter Review Commission (CRC), tasked with performing a thorough review of the City’s Charter and suggesting opportunities for improvements. This review is required by law to be performed at least once every ten years. The last such review was conducted eight years ago. Both groups expanded upon their reports at a workshop with the Council earlier this month. Also, both groups discussed their proposals at a public forum sponsored by The Alliance for a Livable Newport (ALN) on June 24. The video of these presentations is available for viewing on The Alliance for a Livable Newport’s website at http://newportalliance.org/videos/ Or – http://vimeo.com/99599695 OR Cox TV, Channel 18 at 7pm this Thursday, July 3. The City Council must first turn its attention to the CRC’s report. The proposals contained in this report must be approved by the Council to appear on the November ballot, since […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - July 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

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Free Public Forum – Featuring the Financial Review Committee and the Charter Review Commission Tuesday June 24, 2014 6:00-7:30pm – Newport Public Library

Tweet  Your voice, your community, your opinion matters! Join us for a lively discussion of important issues affecting Newport, Rhode Island residents, neighborhoods, friends and family. Alliance for a Livable Newport – Free Public Forum – Featuring the  Financial Review Committee and the Charter Review Commission   Why do Newport’s schools cost so much per pupil compared to neighboring communities? Is the tourist industry actually costing Newport money? What is the real impact of tax-exempt properties on our city? Why increase the number of voting wards in Newport? Why not? Would having School Committee members elected from the city’s wards increase the number of candidates? Do you care what our Municipal Government does next with the Reports of the Charter Review Commission and the Financial Review Committee? Have your opinion heard!   No politics; no fooling. Just straight answers! Learn about the work of two volunteer groups of Newport citizens charged by the City Municipal Government to review:   1) our “Rules of Government” 2) how the City can SAVE money! Please join us and bring your questions and comments. Questions may be sent in advance to: info@newportalliance.org Link to CRC Report Link to FRC Report To learn more about The […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - June 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm

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The Alliance for a Livable Newport (ALN) held its 2014-2015 annual meeting on Tuesday, May 6

Tweet 2014-05-15 / Around Town – Newport This Week ALN Recaps Busy Year By John Hirschboeck Pictured (left to right) are ALN Board members Lauren Carson, John McCain, Isabel Griffith, Glen Whistler, Jane Timken, Tom Hockaday, Ron Becker and Dave Wixted.The Alliance for a Livable Newport (ALN) held its 2014-2015 annual meeting on Tuesday, May 6. ALN, dedicated to improving the quality of life in Newport and serving as an unbiased resource for information on the issues of importance to the community, greeted its members and guests for an informal recap of its past year’s activities and plans for the future. ALN Secretary Isabel Griffith opened the meeting by highlighting the importance of civic engagement, particularly in an election year. Griffith serves as the head of city’s Charter Review Commission. Vice President John Hirschboeck noted that Newport has 17 commissions, five boards, and five committees, but few citizens know about their functions. He further remarked that the five ALN-sponsored public forums held during the past year highlighted some of the accomplishments of these panels and acknowledged the dedicated volunteer work contributed by over 100 members of these citysanctioned bodies. President Ron Becker reviewed the organization’s financial condition and encouraged members […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - May 16, 2014 at 10:38 am

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Point Assoc. Speakers Flooding, Resiliency and Green Infrastructure is planned for Thursday May 22 at the Harbor House

TweetThe first program this year in the Point Association’s (http://www.thepointassociation.org/)2014 Speakers Series on Flooding, Resiliency and Green Infrastructure is planned for Thursday May 22 at the Harbor House Great Hall 111 Washington St, Newport, RI 02840 (401) 846-1990 Entrance to Great Hall on Battery Street in Newport at 5:30. Speakers will be from the RI Landscapers and Nursery Association (RINLA), and the program will present an overview of Green Infrastructure: using plants to minimize flooding in the residential setting.  The Point Association’s  Annual Plant Sale is following week-end at St John’s in the Point. The guest presenters for this program will be the Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (http://www.rinla.org/) Executive Director Shannon Brawley and Board President Catherine Weaver.  The presentation will include: Short Intro on Newport Flooding: where and why? Overview of Green Infrastructure: How and Why its works What can homeowners do to reduce flooding on their property? Q&A The Point Association is seeking to present a collaborative discussion on flooding, sea rise and green infrastructure throughout the year.  Mark your calendars and join this conversation on May 22nd!  All are invited.

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Posted by NewportAlliance - May 14, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Categories: 5 Focus Areas - Categories Updates, NATURAL ENVIRONMENT   Tags:

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