GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY

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

List 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:

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

Sign 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.

Your 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”!

  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)

ALN 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, Recent Updates, SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION   Tags:

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

This 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

  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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RI Energy Challenge – Newport’s effort to become an Energy Champion!

For the past 6 months the City of Newport has been asking residents to pledge to be more energy efficient by going to www.findyourfour.com and signing up for the Rhode Island Energy Challenge. An energy efficiency campaign sponsored by National Grid and nonprofit SmartPower, the Challenge asks each of us to pick four things we can do to save energy. When the city signs up the equivalent of 5% of households, National Grid will award Newport $7500 to be used for energy efficiency upgrades on a city property.    With only another month left, Newport is just about at the mark! Every single email counts, so if you and all your family haven’t already done so, please email mhoward@smartpower.org your permission and we will make the sign up for you, or pledge for yourself at www.findyourfour.com. Please list names and emails for each person. Everyone in the family / household can sign up. Also, please encourage 3 friends to sign up. They do not have to live in Newport but only need to choose the City of Newport as their “Affiliation”.  Thanks to all of you for doing this for the community! Click HERE to read more from the Newport Daily News.

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Posted by NewportAlliance - April 29, 2014 at 10:12 am

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY   Tags:

City of Newport Spring Recycling Day April 19th Easton’s Beach! (see details)

Spring Recycling Day: Saturday, April 19, 2014 Download the 2014 Spring Recycling Day flyer here (pdf). See below for a full list of items accepted at the Spring Recycling Day! **NEW! The Clean City Program will be displaying 64-gallon carts for residents. Carts will be issued for trash and recycling starting November 1, 2014.** The Spring & Fall Recycling banner at the event entrance   Styrofoam being collected at the Fall Recycling Day At the 2014 Spring Recycling Day, we will accept the following materials: No appointment is required for this portion of the event. All vendors listed will take items on a first come, first served basis: Scrap metal: metal hangers, pots, pans, metal chains, screws, nails, any other item that is primarily made out of metal. No items containing Freon. Please call 845-5613 if you have an item you are unsure of. Paper shredding service (paper will be recycled): Newport area residents are invited to bring up to four banker size boxes of paper to be shredded. Residents may bring their documents in any type of carrying container but must stay within the four banker box limit. Files can be left in manila file folders and hanging files. Staples and paper clips are also acceptable […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - April 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY, NATURAL ENVIRONMENT   Tags:

Amy Hoag, Newport Resident, expresses her concerns with proposed parking changes.

Proposed_Parking_Changes_Map copy  (click to download) Docket Action Item #5245:14  (click to download) The city will hold a public parking workshop on Thursday, March 20th at 6:30 pm in the community room at the police station to review the proposed sticker parking changes.  If you are not able to attend but would like to make comment, please email the city councilors whose contact information is listed below. Last week at the city council meeting, the council received a report recommending expanding the Residential Parking Program (sticker parking) to include high density areas, areas with little to no off-street parking, and residential areas in mixed use or near major tourist sections of Newport; this change would eliminate the petition process for the proposed streets.  The streets proposed for inclusion in the Residential Parking Program include: All roads west of Broadway up to A-1 Pizza and west to Van Zandt Ave. Southern end is Farewell Street and Thames down to Bucci’s liquor. Everything north of Touro street between Kay and Broadway all the way up to Rhode Island Ave. Warner, Broadway, and Marcus Wheatland are not restricted. This directly impacts our neighborhood and has been a topic of discussion in our meetings regularly. […]

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Posted by NewportAlliance - March 18, 2014 at 11:58 am

Categories: GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY, INFRASTRUCTURE   Tags: , , , , , , ,

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