City of Newport Charter Review – what you should know and do now!

The Charter of the City of Newport, Rhode Island, was approved by the voters on November 4, 1952.

Chapter III (Elections) became effective on such date. All other provisions became effective on November 1, 1953. Years appearing in parentheses indicate that the section was enacted, amended or repealed in the year indicated.

Official seal of Newport, Rhode Island
Official seal of Newport, Rhode Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The final reports of last two Charter Reviews were in 2002 and 2008.

Section 10-10. Charter Review

The Council shall provide for periodic review of this charter by appointing a Charter Review Commission no more than 10 years from the date of appointment of the most recent Charter Review Commission.


Read the City Charter.  <click here>

In addition to the link on the ALN website

It can be found on Charter Review Commission website – click on Boards and Commission on the upper left of the city’s home page or on Codified Ordinances just below that.

Meetings, agendas and minutes are posted on the Charter Commission website; meetings are also posted on the city calendar.  Comments at those meetings about the City Charter from members of the public are encouraged



Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Newport Public Library 5:30pm

Present: Sarah Atkins, Charles Y. Duncan, Isabel Griffith,William Kimes, Mary Ann Marin, and David P. Martland

Absent: Lauren Carson, Patrick K. Kelley and Terry Nathan

There being a quorum present the meeting was opened. Proceedings

Members of the Charter Review Commission (CRC) were sworn in by Kathleen M. Silvia, City Clerk.

The Members conveyed the first meeting of the CRC pursuant to the Resolution of the City Council No. 2013-106 dated June 26, 2013. Mayor Henry F. Winthrop addressed the CRC and suggested that members engage a discussion of any and all items within their purview and not shy away of “hot button” issues. The Mayor also indicated that the Resolution of the City Council would be amended to require the CRC to provide its recommendations to the City Council in April rather than February.

Election of Officers: Upon motion made and seconded, the CRM elected Isabel Griffin as Chair, Mary Ann Marin as Vice-Chair, and David P. Martland as Secretary.

The members determined that the CRC should meet twice a month on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month with the exception of January when the CRC would meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday. Upon motion made and seconded it was voted unanimously that the CRC would hold meetings on November 20th, December 4th, December 18th, January 8th, January 22nd, February 5th, February 19th, March 5th, and March 19th, convening at 5:30pm and allow for public input at the beginning of each meeting limiting each speaker to 3 minutes. The Chair indicated she would seek to obtain permission to hold the proposed meetings at the Newport Public Library.

The members determined that they would review the City Charter prior to the November 20th meeting, at which point members would select certain chapters for further review and study and seek to develop a list of topics to discuss. At the suggestion of CRC member William Kimes, Chair advised she would request that the CRC members be provided with a copy of the Model City Charter drafted by the National Civic League.

Upon motion made and seconded it was voted to adjourn. Submitted by Secretary, David P. Martland


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November 14th @ 6pm Free Public Forum – City of Newport Commissions

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 –
City of Newport Commissions

“I don’t think I’m interested in Newport’s Historic District Commission or its Zoning Board of Review.”

Think again!

  • If you own or are thinking of buying property in Newport’s Historic District…
  • If you are thinking about possibly changing the use of your Newport property or altering its outside appearance ….
  • If you own a business anywhere in the city…
  • If you live in an area where a change in zoning might occur…

You SHOULD be interested in learning more about:

1)   the Historic District Commission
2)   the Zoning Board of Review

The Alliance for a Livable Newport will present the second in a series of public forums featuring Newport’s various Boards and Commissions.

The panel discussion will be followed by questions from the audience.

Questions may be sent in advance to:

To learn more about The City of Newport Boards and Commissions <click here>

The panel will feature:

  • Rebecca McSweeney, Chair of theZoning Board of Review
  • John Shehan, Chair of theHistoric District Commission 
  • Matt Weintraub, Historic Planner for the City of Newport

For additional information on ALN or this Forum, contact: Isabel Griffith – Office of the President –

Did you know that all ALN Public Forums are video taped and available publicly for viewing at any time? <click here to view the archive>

Bring a neighbor, tell a friend!

Please join us!


Thursday, November 14
6:00 – 7:30pm


Newport Public Library
Program Room
300 Spring Street
Newport, RI 02840

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Copyright © 2013 Alliance for a Livable Newport, All rights reserved.


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Ron Becker, Alliance for a Livable Newport President elected Chairman of Finance Review Committee

NEWPORT- Finance Review Committee to start work

By Sean Flynn – Staff writer

Seven Newport residents with extensive experience in private business will be reviewing the city budget to determine ways of cutting expenses and increasing revenues.

The members of the new Finance Review Committee were sworn by City Clerk Kathleen Silvia Thursday night at the Newport Public Library, and welcomed to the tasks ahead by Mayor Harry Winthrop.

When the City Council gave initial approval to a city budget in June, the council members voted unanimously to form a committee to study items such as the high cost of pensions and health care for city employees that are built into the budget.

Earlier in the year, the council passed a resolution calling on the city administration to identify “any and all nonprofit entities” that “may be able to assist in generating city revenue through participation in PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) or PILOT-type programs.”

That task also has been assigned to the Finance Review Committee.

Winthrop said Thursday the committee members could look at the formula that provides state aid to communities in the form of PILOT funding to cover part of the property taxes lost because the property is held by a taxexempt organization. Perhaps that funding could be increased, he said.

“We would have to ask the General Assembly for enabling legislation,” the mayor said.

Cruise ships pay the city a fee of $6 per passenger onboard when they visit Newport, Winthrop said. On the other hand, 1,200 buses visit the city in September and October and don’t pay any fees to the city, he said.

“Is there any way to collect fees from them?” he asked. “We don’t want you to stay away from anything. You don’t have any political fallout to worry about.”

Ron Becker Alliance for a Livable Newport
Ron Becker

The committee members elected Ron Becker as the chairman. He was a senior officer for Met Life and had spent 35 years in the insurance industry before retiring. He is currently president of the Alliance for a Livable Newport, a neighborhood advocacy group.

“If we suggest new revenues, someone is going to have pay them,” Becker said. “Expense cuts we recommend could affect people’s jobs or the services they receive. No matter what we decide, we are not going to come out of this as friends to the world.”

The council has asked for a final report and recommendations from the committee by May. Becker said the recommendations could include short-term budget adjustments as well as long-term goals.

John Flores, CEO of Drupal Connect, a website design and development firm on Thames Street, was elected vice chairman of the committee.

“I’m passionate about research,” he said.

Louisa Boatwright, who worked for a large financial institution in the Boston area before moving to Newport, will serve as secretary of the committee. She has been active in the Newport Public Education Foundation.

Hank Kniskern, a former manager at AT&T and Bell Labs and former instructor at the Naval War College, also is on the committee. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Roger Williams University business school and chaired the city’s Waterfront Commission for seven years.

Other committee members include: David Bazarsky, an attorney and owner of real estate in the area; Ken Nomiyama, a former manager for UBS Bank and Chase; and Bill Rauch, a former chief financial officer for retail companies.

Bazarsky said he would like to take a closer look at union contracts, school expenses and possibilities for regionalization in the coming months.

City Finance Director Laura Sitrin and city budget analyst Elizabeth Sceppa will be working closely with the committee. They agreed to provide the members with copies of the city budget and the council’s strategic plan later today.

The committee members plan to review the budget in the coming week and select sections for closer review.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place at the Newport Public Library on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.

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Isabel Griffith of ALN appointed chairwoman for Charter Review Commission

Charter review panel is urged to deal with ‘hot button’ issues 

By Sean Flynn  Staff writer

Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop opened the first meeting of the new city Charter Review Commission on Wednesday night by urging the members not to shy away from “hot button” issues.

“You should not have preconceived ideas,” he said. “For example, should we have an appointed School Committee instead of an elected School Committee?”

John Shehan, chairman of the city’s Historic District Commission and an observer at the meeting, suggested another topic sure to cause debate. He said the new commission should consider whether local voters should elect a mayor instead of City Council members choosing one of their colleagues for that role.

“A city of this importance should be electing a mayor,” Shehan said. He said he applied to serve on the Charter Review Commission but was not chosen by the council.

Isabel Griffith
Isabel Griffith

Six of the nine members of the new commission were present and they elected Isabel Griffith chairwoman. She is a former president of the Alliance for a Livable Newport and the Point Association, neighborhood advocacy groups.

Mary Ann Marin was chosen vice chairwoman. She served as chairwoman of the Newport Hospitality Commission for about seven years, beginning in 1993.

Attorney David P. Martland was elected secretary. The other three members present included former   
City Councilman Charles Y. Duncan, Rogers High School teacher Bill Kimes and Sarah Atkins, an employee of the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission and former Newport program director for Social Venture Partners Rhode Island.

Absent were members Lauren Carson, a member of the city’s Energy and Environment Commission; Patrick K. Kelley, former chairman of the School Committee; and Terry Nathan, president of the Inter-national Yacht Restoration School.

The new commission will meet the first and third Wednesdays of the month beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Newport Public Library. Each meeting will begin with a public comment period.

The commission members are expected to have their recommendations completed by April so they can be presented at the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on April 23, 2014.

If the council adopts any of the proposed changes, local voters would approve or reject them in a referendum that would be on the ballot on Nov. 4, 2014.

Winthrop proposed in June that School Committee members be appointed by the City Council.

“This would open up the process to allow people who have qualifications to serve on the School Committee, and not require them to run in an election,” he said at the time.

The City Council last had a Charter Review Commission in 2007, and voters in November 2008 approved all 23 proposed changes, many of them minor. The charter change that attracted the most attention that year was allowing the police chief and the fire chief to be hired from outside the ranks of the local police and fire departments. Until then, the charter permitted only Newport police officers and firefighters to be considered for those jobs.

The last Charter Review Commission also briefly considered the idea of an appointed School Committee.

Robert J. Leary, then the School Committee vice chairman and currently a School Committee member, said at a commission meeting on Sept. 28, 2007, it should explore whether the School Committee should be appointed by the City Council instead of being elected by voters.

Opponents to such a change sometimes ask who would appoint the City Council members.

Duncan took that thought process a step further Wednesday night.

“Maybe the School Committee should appoint the City Council,” he said.


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Video of Public Forum proposed Hyatt Marina + Detailed Engineering Plans


20131010_Hyatt Dock_Presentation Set < click to download Hyatt Marina Engineering Drawings, design, plans


Hyatt Marina Proposal from Alliance for Livable Newport on Vimeo.


Proposed Goat Island Hyatt Hotel Marina October 2013 

Preliminary Design, Details, Drawings for your review

The images shown below illustrate the plans for a new marina filed by the Hyatt Hotel on Goat Island. These development plans and proposals have been or will be shared with various officials, groups, organizations, departments and individuals including:

  • The Waterfront Commission
  • The Planning Board
  • Newport Harbormaster

At those meetings, questions are answered and comments offered about the appropriateness of the facility.

The ALN Public Forum on October 30 – 6:00 to 7:30pm at the Newport Public Library will provide an opportunity for the public to see these plans, drawings, designs and images, make comments, and have their questions answered by members of the Hyatt Hotel administration and staff.


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FREE Public Forum about City of Newport Commissions October 2nd, 6pm Newport Library

ALN Logo Banner

Alliance for a Livable Newport

September 26, 2013
WHO: All Newport residents

WHAT:  Public Forum about City of Newport Commissions | Bring you questions!

Featuring – Cliff Walk Commission, Easton’s Beach Commission, and Waterfront Commission

WHERE: Newport Public Library – 300 Spring St., Newport, RI (401) 847-8720

WHEN: Wednesday, October 2, 2013

TIME: 6pm until 8pm
COST: FREE!  (Donations Appreciated!) DONATE NOW!



The first in a series of Newport Commissions Forums to be held October 2 at 6pm

Newport Public Library Programs Room

In its ongoing efforts to keep citizens aware of and involved with issues affecting the quality of life in Newport, the Alliance of Livable Newport will be holding a series of Public Forums featuring the Chairpersons of various City Commissions and Boards.

“Newporter’s are generally aware of City Council meetings but often are unaware that33 boards and commissions have been ordained to support and report to the city council. Their members provide countless volunteer hours in monitoring, investigating, reviewing, reporting on and recommending actions that affect the daily quality of life in Newport” said John Hirschboeck, Vice President of the Alliance. All commissions meetings are open to the public and their agendas and minutes are posted on the city’s website, along with applications for those who might wish to serve.

The first of the ALN forums will feature reports from the Cliff Walk Commission, Easton’s Beach Commission, and Waterfront Commission and will take place at6pm at the Newport Public Library on Wednesday, October 2, with brief presentations from the commissions and an opportunity for a Q&A afterwards. City Councilwoman Jeanne-Marie Napolitano will introduce the Commissioners. 

“After a busy summer on the water, we felt these 3 commissions in particular would be a great way to launch our series,” said Hirschboeck. “The majority of our tourists have visited the walk, the beach and our waterfront. How these waterfront infrastructures are maintained and supported is critically important to all.”

For a complete list of all the Newport City Commissions, go to

For more information on the Alliance for a Livable Newport and how you can help make Newport more livable, go to


John Hirschboeck, Vice President

Alliance for a Livable Newport

Alliance for a Livable Newport | P.O. Box 2636 | Newport | RI | 02840

Open House Sheds Light, Reveals Rifts

By Tom Shevlin, April 19, 2013 Newport This Week ( 

NEWPORT – School lunches, budgets, the search for a new superintendent, what to do about excess elementary schools, a push for a new parking garage, the redevelopment of the North End, a proposal to require Newport residents to pay as they throw, and the seemingly ever present issue of trust between the city’s top two elected bodies.

They were all topics of conversation on Tuesday when the Alliance for a Livable Newport hosted what it called an open house to discuss citywide issues with members of the School Committee and City Council.

The roughly hour-long session, which drew about two dozen members of the public to the downstairs meeting room of the Newport Public Library, began with a series of questions related to the city’s public schools.

Taking primacy were two lines of questioning: the first seeking clarification regarding the search for a new superintendent, and a second addressing the continued struggles of Rogers High School students on the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, test.

Representing the School Committee were Chairman Dr. Charles Shoemaker and Vice Chair Jo Eva Gaines.

According to Gaines, in finding the city’s next superintendent, a search committee made up of 9-11 parents, students, public officials, members of the school support staff, teachers, and administrators will soon be constituted and a total of five focus groups will be convened.

The aim, she said, is to be as inclusive as possible and reach out into the community to gauge their top priorities.

The search is set to begin in earnest next month, and those interested in participating in the process should look for further updates in the weeks to come.

As for the department’s efforts to boost the city’s flailing test scores, Shoemaker acknowledged that there is room for improvement.

Gaines agreed. Especially as it relates to the high school level where under 30 percent of students tested proficient in math skills, she said that there is room for improvement.

“Math is a problem,” Shoemaker said. “There’s no question about it. It’s not just Newport. It’s across the whole state, and it’s true in a number of other public schools across the country. Lots of people have lots of theories about why that’s occurring. Yes, we have a problem with the kids in 11th grade, as does every other school across the state,” he said. “The good news is that if you look at the 8th graders, they’ve really made some significant gains and I anticipate that those kids who are graduating from the 8th grade will have a much better head start than those kids in high school.”

Gaines agreed. “The state, the commissioner, is very much interested in growth,” Gaines said, adding that so long as those students who did not test proficient in math or reading show improvement in their senior year, they will be issued diplomas.

But, she noted, many will still not be proficient. “And that’s sad,” she said.

Also unfortunate is the persistent friction that seems to exist between the School Committee and their counterparts on the City Council.

When asked if they were open to school’s finance department being absorbed by City Hall, both Gaines and Shoemaker were wary.

“If the city can get the federal government and the state government to give figures in a way that we can’t, then I would welcome them taking it over,” said Gaines in explaining why the committee has in recent years failed to provide a concrete number prior to the city adopting its own fiscal year budget. “We don’t get the information from the federal government, therefore we can’t do anything with it.”

Shoemaker reiterated that point, noting that while two months ago, the department was anticipating running a surplus, today, he said, “We think that we’re in a slight deficit situation.”

That seemed to take Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop, who was representing the council along with Vice Mayor Naomi Neville, off-guard.

Saying that while he has the “utmost respect” for Gaines and Shoemaker, he added, “I don’t have that same respect for the development of the budget process through your administration.”

According to Winthrop, “Budgets are nothing but a series of forecasts about where you’re going to be either at the beginning or the end of the year. And a good accountant will know, not exactly, what it’s going to take to run that department.”

Still, relying on three sources of funding – state, federal, and local –Shoemaker said that there are simply too many unknowns for the committee to provide the city with an accurate forecast in advance of the city’s annual budget process.

Winthrop, however, persisted.

“The fact of the matter is, from an accounting standpoint, we as a council have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure to the taxpayers that we fund you adequately but that we do not over fund you. Without your budget forecast we have no idea how much to allocate.” As a result, the council has opted to simply level-fund the department – a point of contention which has drawn protest from members of the School Committee in recent years.

Adding that he currently has a proposed budget from Middletown’s School Committee on his desk at City Hall, Winthrop concluded his remarks by suggesting that the city not stop at absorbing the school department’s finance office.

“I don’t think that’s the only thing we should take over,” he said. “I also think that we should take over HR administration and we should also take over the maintenance of the buildings and grounds, and let the School Committee focus on what they were elected to do: and that’s educational excellence.”

He continued, “We have a professional staff. We do it, I think, much better than the School Department and we should be allowed to do that for the whole town. I would estimate – and this is just a Harry Winthrop number – that we could save a half a million dollars or more if we were allowed to take over those functions.”

Gaines responded with a familiar, yet broader concern.

“At the bottom of all of this is the big word of trust,” she said. “There is hardly any trust between the School Committee and the City Council. And I say that with all do respect to the council… But as a body, it’s very hard to trust that they’re going to do what’s right for the kids.”

She added, “If we are taken over by the City Council, what is the priority of education in Newport. Are we going to be…second in consideration if a street has to be paved?”

For the past couple of years, School Committee member Sandra Flowers has attended the monthly meetings of the School Committee-City Council Liaison Subcommittee.

“It seems that the agenda never has to be rewritten,” she said. From combining simple functions such as maintenance and groundskeeping operations to restructuring the finance department, the proposals haven’t changed much.

Especially as it relates to groundskeeping, she noted, “That’s been talked about for a couple of years now.” Why, she wondered, couldn’t the city just “jump in and do it.”

There were no answers readily presented during the meeting except for an acknowledgement that the relationship between the two bodies needs to be improved.

That seemed to be underscored when the topic turned toward the proposed establishment of a new charter school in town.

Winthrop, in voicing his support for the concept, noted that he would not be opposed to spending more if it meant that Newport’s school children received a better education.

Shifting to more concrete matters, both Winthrop and Neville expressed their enthusiasm for efforts underway to redevelop the city’s North End.

Long a source of public interest, improving the area north of the Pell Bridge has been a frequent topic of discussion over the years. But as Winthrop noted, there seems to be some real momentum behind recent efforts.

In the coming weeks, a new North End Redevelopment commission will begin their work to determine how best to bring about change to the area.

“There have been a lot of plans that have been developed,” over the years, Winthrop said. And over the coming months, “many of those will be pulled out, dusted off, and looked over and see if they’re still applicable today.”

Citing a number of factors including the state’s commitment to reconfigure the Pell Bridge interchange as well as the ongoing efforts led by the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission to secure the former Navy Hospital property, Winthrop said that he sees reason for optimism when it comes to the North End.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Neville noted that movement is also being seen in the city’s efforts to redevelop the former Navy Hospital property through the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, with a final report on its potential best uses expected back on the property within the next few months.

Also on the city side, attention was briefly paid to the prospect of the council adopting a pay as you throw trash system, which is currently being examined by city staff.

Winthrop was straightforward in his response.

“The proposal before us is really just that today, a proposal,” he said. “Until I can be convinced that it’s a good thing, I am opposed to pay-as-you-throw. I don’t think it fits in Newport, even if economically it works. It doesn’t fit in Newport because of the transient population we have – especially in the summer.”

Neville held a slightly different view.

“At this point, I’d say that I’m more neutral to the idea,” she said, noting that she’s willing to reserve her final assessment until after the various proposals are brought before the council.

Further discussion was also held related to the possibility of constructing a downtown parking garage to help ease the city’s perpetual parking pinch.

While Winthrop didn’t necessarily seem keen on looking at developing a new garage structure in town, he was eager to see plans developed that would relocate the Gateway Center out of the downtown area and in tandem develop a new multi-modal transportation center that would provide parking and public transit for visitors coming to downtown.

As for repurposing the city’s soon-to-be-vacant elementary schools, Gaines said that she’s ready willing and able to do whatever needs to be done to get those schools into the city’s hands and on the market.

But when it comes to what to do with the proceeds from the buildings, a divide was again revealed, as Shoemaker said that he believes the money should go toward maintaining existing school facilities, while Winthrop countered by saying that the funds should be directed to the city’s general fund and allocated to the school department as needed.

The meeting ended with a brief exchange with audience and School Committee member Robert Leary, who suggested that the city be proactive in bargaining with its municipal and school retirees to restructure their post employment benefit plans.

As Leary noted, in recent weeks, both Providence and Cranston have done just that, and achieved significant savings that have helped shore up their long-term finances.

Leary proposed the idea of engaging retirees on the school side last year, but was rebuffed.

Winthrop said that he thinks such a strategy could be a good idea.

Comments (13)

Comment Feed

Response to” Ace”

Obviously as I stated previously, all public school teachers are in the state’s retirement system. The only thing the city or town is responsible for to its teacher retirees is the OPEC, that would be health care, etc. This varies greatly from town to town.Oh , by the way Newport was, to my knowledge,the only one to give Life Blue Cross in 1998 . In fact, I believe, we may be the only one or at least one of the very few cities or towns that gave it’s teachers Life Blue Cross.

When I spoke of Cranston and Providence I spoke mainly of the cities employees. Providence was in over $100,000,000 deficit and the current mayor involved them and did other things to stay afloat. What happened in Central Falls was on the door step. However, you might want to check with them on any OPEC savings from the teachers.

I believe, the Newport City Council and the Newport School Committee should invite the retirees to the table together. Lets involving them in the conversation. Providence and Cranston had success with this.

The Newport School Committee pays almost $4,000,000 for retirees health care. That is almost $1,500,000 more than active employees.

The unfunded liability payment the City of Newport makes varies from year to year. This year they are requesting $1,900,000 for retirees .That is almost a 3% tax raise just for retirees.At some point the city can’t afford this payment and get anything else done then you going have do something. Lets involve the retirees in the solution, lets not wait until to late.

Robert J Leary 8 days ago | reply

Response to Mr. Leary’s comment

It took a while but I finally contacted the leadership of Cranston and Providence retired teachers. Under no circumstances did EITHER group have discussions that led to ANY change in their retirement. How Mr. Leary can state that both communities have had success involving its retirees is obviously incorrect. I challenge Mr. Leary to provide the evidence that would substantiate the fact that the present retired teachers from Providence and/or Cranston gave up anything in their retirement benefits. They both lost their COLA’s—as did Newport and all other participants in the ERSRI—but that was NOT due to talks between the respective committees and the local retirees. Put up—-or shut up!

Ace 10 days ago | reply

response to question posed

Let me answer the questions posed.

What 120 of the 200 teachers means is simply that,120 teachers have Life Blue Cross out of the 200 teachers in Newport.

Providence , Cranston, and other cities have talked to retirees and I would assume there retirees didn’t want changes, but they made them. However, cities can longer afford these benefits as they are constructed.

As far as my pension is concerned , all public school teachers are in the state retirement plan. Oh by the way the state passed major changes to its retirees. RI could no longer afford the way it was structured.

Robert J Leary 18 days ago | reply


I’m out of laeuge here. Too much brain power on display!

Jayne 19 days ago | reply

Your pension

Bob how much of your pension have you donated back to the West Warwick school system ??????

Jack 19 days ago | reply

Response to Mr. Leary’s suggestion

Mr. Leary—-your suggestion that the retired teachers should talk to the School Committee smacks of politics. You were on the School Committee when the last contract with TAN was negotiated. Whether you voted for or against the present 2011-2014 contract is immaterial. I assumed you voted against it—-but you must have read it in order to cast your vote. Page 25, Section K, 4th paragraph reads ” Any medical benefit cost share and above agreed-upon contractual benefits shall not be changed for employees after the date of retirement.” Any retiree who is willing to talk to you or the School Committee about restructuring their post retirement benefits most likely does not represent a vast majority of the retirees——especially if they are aware of the above agreed upon language in their contract. You should forget about the talk—and walk the walk. Deal with the present and upcoming contracts. Accept the past agreed upon contractual language.

Ace 19 days ago | reply

Can someone translate

Mr. Leary’s post? The word salad is nearly incomprehensible. For example: “The teachers only 120 of its 200 members have it.”

Is this how the school committee organizes its thoughts? In an obfuscating stream of consciousness?

Concerned Taxpayer 20 days ago | reply

Real numbers

I do not like to give numbers out without being on target.

You can check the unfunded liability, and the money they are recommending to put in this in fy 2014 budget numbers on the city’s web site. The $675,000 is close to the target for a 1% tax raise.

As far as Life Blue Cross in the school department, you can verify my numbers and who continues to have Life Blue Cross through the school department or on the schools web site under contracts.

Robert J Leary 21 days ago | reply


Bobby are any of these numbers real numbers? I have seen you on video making numbers up, changing data points right during a meeting, can we be sure you are not doing so right now?

Are you willing to vote to support the idea of putting thanks to the citizens of Newport on Jack’s plaque?

Newporter 21 days ago | reply

Bargaining with retirees

The Newport School Committee as well as the Newport City Council should talk to the retirees. Newport’s unfunded liability payment this year is $1,900,000 considering that around $675,000 is a 1% tax increase. That is almost a 3% tax increase. Providence and recently Cranston have had success with involving its retirees.
Newport School Committee has made great strides with reducing its unfunded liability . In the last contract the school department retiree benefits has decreased from $73,200,000 to $48,900,000.You can’t ignore that!
What happened to the money? The money is in a trust fund The total dollar amount is less $3,500,000 As you can see that will not cover the districts cost for post employment retirement benefits.
As I was told by a former school committee member they acted on what information was given to them. Life Blue Cross was given when the administration told the school committee they would save $1,000,000 by switching from Classic Blue Cross to Coast to Coast Blue Cross. It saved $50,000 !
Since around 2005 there isn’t any Life Blue Cross for our new employees none of them..The last contract with Council 94 members 75% of its membership gave up its Life Blue Cross. All of our administration has given it up. The teachers only 120 of its 200 members have it. That needs to be reduced with each contract.

Robert J. Leary 22 days ago | reply


I’d say it is all about who gets their name on the Pell building. How do we ask the committee to thank the citizens on that plaque we all know jack wants his name on?

Newporter 22 days ago | reply

Yes, it is all about trust Ms. Gaines

“Gaines responded with a familiar, yet broader concern.

“At the bottom of all of this is the big word of trust,” she said. “There is hardly any trust between the School Committee and the City Council. And I say that with all do respect to the council… But as a body, it’s very hard to trust that they’re going to do what’s right for the kids.””

If there’s anyone we should trust less than the City Council to “…do what’s right for the kids,” it’s the School Committee.

Just sayin’.

Concerned Taxpayer 22 days ago | reply

Bargaining with retirees

Why would any fair person be in favor of Mr. Leary’s idea of restructuring retiree(s) post employment benefit plans? Everyone knows that restructuring means giving up some thing(s) that the retiree(s) earned as part of their retirement package. If Mr. Leary or anyone else is unhappy with the present terms that future retiree(s) will earn upon their retirement then the school committee should negotiate with the present teachers about their future retirement package. Changing terms of retirement AFTER individuals have already retired is unfair and most likely illegal. What happened to the monies that retirees paid to fund their future retiree costs? Where is that 3% monies that was supposed to go into an escrow account to help defray future costs? Former school committee members were responsible for the present retiree(s) benefit package. Years ago during negotiations with the teachers the school committee broached the subject of life time benefits in exchange for a 0% increase in salaries. Both parties agreed to the terms. Is the school committee going to offer to said retiree teachers compensation for the 0% they agreed to as part of the restructuring of their post employment plan? One would assume at least a 3% salary increase compounded over the many years that the retiree(s) were no longer employed—-PLUS—-the 3% escrow payments that somehow no one wants to remember. Sounds like a real mess!!

Ace 22 days ago | reply

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ALN Forum; ” Switching to Single Stream Recycling” 5/15/12

ALN Public Forum

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 Switching to Single Stream Recycling

 A Public Forum sponsored by Alliance for Livable Newport and The Newport Energy & Environment Commission

The Alliance for Livable Newport will hold a Public Forum to introduce the new “single-stream” sorting and recycling system being implemented in Newport beginning in June 2012. “Single Stream” will allow households to combine their recycling into one container rather than separating it.

 The Forum will also explain how to reduce difficult items in the waste stream (such as paint, mattresses, light bulbs, batteries, etc.) and discuss new ways of sharing the burden of managing solid waste among Newport residents, the City and the producers of hard to handle waste which is filling up the Johnston landfill at increased costs to towns and municipalities.

Speakers will include:

Sarah Kite, Director of Recycling Services, Rhode Island Resource and Recovery Corp

Kristin Littlefield, Clean Cities Coordinator, City of Newport

Ellie Leonardsmith, RI Clean Water Action

Victor Bell, President, Environmental Packaging International


The Newport Public Library Program Room

300 Spring Street

Newport, RI 02840

Tuesday May 15, 2012 at  6:00 – 7:30 p.m.


 Lauren Carson

 Alliance for Livable Newport

 Newport Energy and Environment Commission


Please  join us for this informative event.

Free and Open to the Public

For more information or to submit questions,  please e-mail:

Alliance for a Livable Newport             
Isabel Griffith, President 
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March 20 from 5:30-7:00 pm ALN League of Women Voters Workshop

The Alliance for a Livable Newport and the League of Women Voters, Newport County, will host a workshop March 20 from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Newport Public Library, Rotary Room, 300 Spring Street, to discuss the financial impact of Race to the Top and the particulars of the new Rhode Island school funding formula.
*Space for this workshop is very limited. The Rotary room at the Newport Public Library will hold two dozen people. Please come early to make sure of a seat.

Funding Our Schools-Rhode Island’s Role in Supporting Local Education

Until the passage of new legislation in June 2010, Rhode Island was one of only two states that did not use a funding formula to help support local school districts. Rhode Island’s new funding formula has been in place for almost two years, and the state has also received new federal monies as part of the Race to the Top grant. What exactly is a funding formula and what does this all mean to local school districts?

Alda Rego, Rhode Island Department of Education‘s Director of Finance, and Kristen Cole, RIDE’s Senior Finance Officer, will explain how Rhode Island’s school funding formula affects local community school funding and how the school district’s demographics are factored into the funding formula. Representatives of the Newport School District will be on hand to discuss the impact of these programs on its funding. There will also be a discussion of how the Race to the Top funds are being used by RIDE to strengthen public education in Rhode Island.   There will be time for questions after the presentations.

The League of Women Voters believes that the state has an important role in funding education,” says Susan Wells, president of the League of Women Voters of Newport County. “Citizens need to understand how the formula works and why it is important. There is more to it than grumbling about how much more or less a district receives under the new formula. We hope this workshop will be a concrete step in forming a basic understanding of what is at stake.”

Information on Rhode Island’s funding formula is available at RIDE’s Web site:  

  • Please  join us for this informative event.
  • Free and Open to the Public
  • For more information or to submit questions,  please e-mail:
Alliance for a Livable Newport
Isabel Griffith, President
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