NEW: At Least 14 Providence Firefighters to Retire in January
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
"In an average year we have around fifteen [retirments]. Last year we had fifty-five," said Doughty, President of the Providence Fire Fighters IAFF Local 799. "Think we have a problem?"
The firefighters union is locked in a legal battle with the City of Providence over the platoon shift changes put forth by Mayor Jorge Elorza last summer.
"One [firefighter] quit yesterday, and has a week vacation," said Doughty. "One is leaving in three weeks. Another Chief, who is not in command, is leaving in two weeks. We had two disability retirements, we've had 8 regular retirements, and I know of at least one more coming."
Doughty confirmed that Battalion Chief James Taylor, with 27 years of service, was the command member to announce his departure.
Doughty spoke to the impact on the department.
"There's an incredible amount of overtime. This is the predictable fallout," said Doughty. "[Firefighters] are voting with their feet. Anyone who can leave, is leaving."
Doughty said the department will now be "in the 370s" in terms of number of firefighters.
"The guy who left yesterday, the [city] is reviewing videotapes to make sure he dildn't steal anything," said Doughty. "It's like the Gestapo."
Related Slideshow: 15 Biggest Blunders of 2015 in RI
Elorza Travels to Guatemala to Meet with Discredited President
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza went on a trade trip to create a sister city program with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, while Molina's administration had been under investigation for months.
Molina's Vice President was forced to resign over a kickback scheme for imports, a corruption ring was being run by the Vice President’s private secretary, and the President's son-in-law was arrested in July for drug trafficking.
Providence Journal Publishes Social Security Number on the Front Page
The ramifications of GateHouse Media cutting copy editors at the Providence Journal may have hit its most significant impact as the Sunday edition of the Providence Journal included the photo of a college list of a family that included the social security number of a family member.
The cover story titled, “Life-altering decisions” focused on a group of Rhode Island families and their college admission process. The main photograph was of a college list of a Warwick, RI family and the image included their handwritten list of targeted schools and had other notes including a clearly readable social security number issued from RI.
A number of Rhode Islanders contacted GoLocalProv as they recognized the social security number prefix “037.”
Roger Williams University Paid Elorza to Teach a Cancelled Class
Right in the thick of the highly contentious mayoral campaign in 2014, then Roger Williams University Law School Professor, and candidate for Mayor Jorge Elorza was scheduled to teach one class at the University during the fall semester.
According to Rhode Island ethics filings, the non-profit Roger Williams University paid Elorza for teach a class that did not take place. Roger Williams University is in the midst of a major expansion in Providence, moving its law school to the city and moving to the former 38 Studios building.
Prov. Muncipal Court Judge Caprio's Cars Registered in Narragansett
Frank Caprio, the Chief of Providence’s Municipal Court, registers six luxury cars to his home in Narragansett at a fraction of the tax payments of registering them in Providence where he claims to live.
The six vehicles include: two Mercedes, two Lincolns, and Infinity G37 and a Toyota Highlander and all of the vehicles are late model.
Combined, Caprio’s vehicles are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and by registering them in Narragansett versus his claimed home in Providence he has saved tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years
Nathan Bishop Graduation Flap
First, Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence opted to cancel traditional promotional exercises this year, instead allowing students who have qualified for a "Celebration Day" by adhering to academic and citizenship requirements to participate in an in-school barbecue. (Read the story here)
Then, following communications from the Principal of Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence to parents stating that traditional graduation exercises would be replaced with an in-school "Celebration Day" barbecue for qualifying students, the school has changed course to have its traditional promotional exercises. (Read the story here)
Raimondo Doesn't Disclose Commerce Corporation Member's Ownership of Fetish Club
A newly appointed member of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation is the owner of a controversial West Warwick nightclub known for kink and S&M events, but the announcement of the appointment by the Administration of Gina Raimondo and the Commerce Corporation's website fails to disclose the business interest.
Vanesa Toledo-Vickers, along with husband Jim Vickers, runs the establishment Manchester 65, and since opening in July 2013 has regularly hosted fetish nights and controversial music performers, in addition to national acts.
East Side B&E King Facing Mutilple New Charges After Being Back on the Street
With much fanfare, Providence resident Trey Pinkerton was arrested and identified as a major cause of a recent spate of East Side break-ins this past August.
Since his arrest this summer, however, Pinkerton was released -- and tied to the recent Scituate break-in and police chase on October 6 that ended in North Providence and led to the arrest of six individuals including Pinkerton who was charged with possession of marijuana.
"He's currently being held at the ACI,' said State Police Lt. Colonel Todd Catlow.
Providence Backs Off Proposal for Speed Bumps on Boulevard
The City of Providence is pulling back on a proposal for speed bumps -- and lumps -- in their look at addressing what some say are speed and safety issues on Blackstone Boulevard
As GoLocal reported, a public meeting drew strong opposition to a plan to restructure the Boulevard with "traffic calming" measures.
The city said that "after analyzing data and collecting feedback from community stakeholders during the public hearing, the City will not be placing traffic calming devices -- such as 'speed bumps' or 'speed lumps' -- on or around the Boulevard."
Johnston Official Calls Black Pastor "F--king" Black Owner of Church
In a video tape exclusively obtained by GoLocalProv, a Johnston town official is heard making a racially charged statement regarding a church pastor’s attempts to rehabilitate a historic church in town — and the reverend is calling the town’s treatment of his efforts racist. (Starting at the 2:25 mark of the video.)
In a meeting with his supervisor and the contractor on the project that was taped, Johnston building inspector Ben Nascenzi can be heard referring to Reverend Dr. Chris Abhulime as “the fucking black owner” of the former historic Belknap Church.
Raimond's Female Staffers Paid Less than Male Counterparts
Despite campaigning on the issue of pay equity for women as a candidate for Governor in Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo’s staff is top heavy with highly paid men, who on average make significantly more than women. Four of the top five highest paid members of the Governor’s staff are men and the only woman in the top five was a Republican appointee.
According to data obtained by GoLocalProv through an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request, of the 30 staff appointments made directly by the Governor to her personal staff, 17 are female and 13 are male, but men on average make 14% more in annual salary.
Why Did Providence Turn Down Plowing Help From Johnston?
Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said that during the recent snow storms, he reached out to Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza to provide resources for the state's capital city, but that Elorza did not take him up on his offer.
"My crew, and the Johnston [Department of Public Works], have done a remarkable job," said Polisena, who has been Mayor of Johnston for eight years, after serving as a State Senator in the Rhode Island General Assembly for twelve years. "It's costly, but the good thing is no one's gotten hurt, no one's been injured, and public safety gets to where it has to go."
Raimondo Pushes for Truck Tolls with No Plan
First, Governor Raimondo unveiled her plan to toll trucks to fund an infastructure bond at the 11th hour of the General Assembly -- which not surprisingly didn't pass before adjournment.
Then in the fall, the RI Truckers Association blasted the revenue projections for the tolls -- and then filed an Access to Public Records Request in December, saying the Administration was withholding information.
Then, the GOP blasted the Administration on December 30, saying the Administration failed to respond adequately -- and questioned why a map of Rhode Island roads from 1882 was included. Heading into the 2016 General Assembly session, it is still not clear where the gantries would be.
Elorza Miscalculates Firefighter Reponse to Platoon Shift
When Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced he was reducing the Providence fire department from four platoons to three for what he said would be projetected cost savings, the firefighters -- who had not been briefed prior -- immediately fired back.
Callback costs soared, and firefighters galvanized around both a PR and legal effort to counter the Mayor's move. Then the Mayor demoted the fire chief, hired a former one as a consultant, and made the Publid Safety Commissioner acting chief -- and chaos ensued.
A Saturday night staffing cut at stations in the city in December further added fuel to the fire, as the firefighters continue to fight the Administration in court heading into 2016.
PawSox Providence Stadium Miscalculation
When the new ownership of the Pawtucket Red Sox unvield their plan for a new stadium in Providence -- asking for more than $100 million in state and local aid -- the public pushback was almost immediate. The initial plan proposed was dead on arrival when, after the first Commerce Corporation meeting to consider it, Governor Raimondo rejected it outright.
After opposition throughout the summer from Pawtucket residents as well as members of almost every political persuasion, Speaker Mattiello said in September that talks with ownership had ceased.
Call it Rhode Island’s 2nd Bloodless Revolution - the defeat of the proposed PawSox stadium in Providence maybe a seminal moment in Rhode Island’s political history.
INVESTIGATION: RI's Hottest Company Leaves, RI Officials Never Met with Them
A GoLocalProv public document request to the Governor’s office, Commerce Corporation, Providence Mayor’s office and Providence economic development officials found that none of them had a single meeting with the Teespring in 2015. The company tagged as one of the hottest in America has announced it is moving to Kentucky and California.
In 2014 and 2015, Teespring raised $55 million in venture capital funds from many of the top funds in the country. The Brown start-up has been compared to an Uber and AirBNB type of company and is expected to do over $200 million in sales in 2015. All of this business momentum is great news for the Brown University - spinoff, but the bad news it will be growing and hiring in San Francisco and Kentucky and not Rhode Island.
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