Newport Charter Review Raises Interesting Questions!

Newport Daily News – Op Ed Page January 11, 2014 page A6

In keeping with the old adage that all politics  is local, residents of Newport have the opportunity to take a stand on several national issues during its charter review process. Such issues include term limits for city councilors, restricting campaign contributions to only those who can vote in municipal elections, reducing the size of local government and increasing or decreasing the powers of the city manager or the city council.   READ MORE HERE about Charter Review

  • Is it time to limit the terms of both elected and senior appointed officials?
  • Would such a change infuse new thinking and help revitalize the city?
  • What if city council members serve for four years instead of two — would this benefit  the community?

  •  If there were six councilors from wards, would this be more democratic and representative?

  • Would the democratic election process improve by restricting campaign donations to those who can vote in municipal elections?

  • Is the manager-city council form of government  the best for Newport?
  • What if we elected a mayor to run the city? Would this bring the citizens closer to those in charge of daily activities?
  • What powers should the city manager and city council exercise on our behalf?
  • Should the city council appoint the school committee, confirm  all senior municipal appointments and contracts and take a more active role in the oversight of financial and city affairs?
  • What role should the neighborhood associations  play in local government?
  • Should the city petition to re-establish the county government to provide school, police, fire and other services on a Newport Countywide  basis?
  • Would a county administration benefit all citizens and communities?

These are but a few of the many questions that could be addressed during the charter review process. I urge my fellow citizens to read the charter (available on the city website) and contact the Charter Review Commission (newportcharterreview@cityofnewport.com) with ideas and suggestions.

Perhaps it is time for the various active neighborhood associations  to become more involved in this process — after all, this is our opportunity to determine how we wish to be governed and what powers we give to those selected to act on our behalf.


John Drotos,
  Newport  Is it time to limit the terms of both elected and senior appointed  officials? Would such a change  infuse new thinking and help  revitalize the city?

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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:

http://www.ride.ri.gov/Finance/Funding/FundingFormula/  

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