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Providence City Council Staffer Threatens Councilman

Sunday, June 11, 2017

 

City Hall Spat

Thursday was a quiet afternoon in Providence City Hall until about 4:00 PM when junior Providence city council staffer Michael Cotugno blew up and started screaming at Providence Councilman Michael Correia.

Sources tell GoLocal that Cotugno was angered because Correia who represents the 6th Ward had asked and questioned other council members about a proposed raise for Cotugno. 

Cotugno is the son of long-standing political operative Edward Cotugno who over the years worked on campaigns for the late Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci, former Governor Ed DiPrete, and most recently Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello. The older Cotugno was a campaign consultant and was involved with Mattiello's close victory over Republican Steve Frias in 2016.

On Thursday, Cotugno called Correia earlier in the day and screamed on the phone at him and then challenged the Councilman when he arrived in the City Council office.

The argument started initially in the office and then spilled out into the hallway outside the Council office where both city employees and visitors to city hall heard the shouting.

Councilman Michael Correia

Peacemaker

Ultimately, Councilman Nick Narducci had to defuse the argument. He represents the 4th Ward — primarily the North End of the city.

“It was a misunderstand. It was unfortunate,” Councilman Correia told GoLocal Friday night when he confirmed the incident.

“It is over .. we are moving forward,” added Correia.

Correia represents the Mount Pleasant, Manton, Olneyville, and Fruit Hill neighborhoods and he is recognized as a champion for fighting against crime and graffiti in the City.

“The staff should not involve themselves in the City’s politics,” said former Council President Luis Aponte, "This episode is disappointing." Aponte recently resigned as Council President and is facing charges. 

Michael Cotugno, Junior staffer in the City Council office

Junior Staffer

Presently, Cotugno is a Constituent Services Coordinator in the Council office. According to his job description he, “manages constituent requests, organizes community meetings and events for councilors. Oversees lobbying efforts to promote Council's legislative agenda.”

Cotugno reached at home said, "Well if you got the story, you got the story, but I have no comment."

To date no disciplinary actions have been taken against Cotugno, according to members of the Council.

 

Related Slideshow: 2016 Providence Benchmark Report - Ten Big Takeaways

Prev Next

#10. Baseline Deficit

$10 Million in FY19

"Without layering in necessary OPEB funding, it is approximately 105 police officers or a commercial and residential tax increase of 4%."

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9. Pension Fund Status

27.4%

"Among comparative New England cities, Providence is “one of two benchmarked pension funds with less than 30% funded status.”

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8. Infrastructure

60%

"Providence is responsible for about 60% of its principal arterial roadways; the two next largest cities in Rhode Island are responsible for a lower percentage of principal arterials - about 21% and 6% for Cranston and Warwick, respectively."

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7. State Aid

32%

"From FY 2005 to FY2016, state revenues to Providence decreased by 32% or $17.5 million.  Since State Aid peaked in FY2007, the City’s State aid revenues decreased by 44.3 percent or $29.6 million."

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6. PILOT Payments

5 out of 6

"In FY16, Providence is on track to receive $7.1 million in PILOT agreements from five out of six major non-profits. Not paying anything — Lifespan."

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5. Credit Rating

Baa1

"Compared to 9 other cities, Providence has the lowest credit rating with a Baa1 rating as of its most recent 2015 bond issue."

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4. Fire Ladders

.33

Lladder companies per square mile. 

"The PFD has the greatest number of engine and ladder companies per square mile - almost 20% higher than the median."

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3. Fire Callback

96%

"In FY2015, Providence spent $7.6 million on Fire Department overtime, 96% of which was driven by callback spending."

“Compared to eight other New England cities, Providence has the highest minimum staffing level, the highest fire suppression minimum staffing level, slightly greater per capita fire suppression staffing, and the highest minimum staffing per square mile,” writes the report.

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2. Deferred Maintenance

$868 million

"According to city estimates, the approximate cost of catching up on deferred maintenance news alone — roads, schools, sewers, sidewalks — is $868 million."

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1. Capital Funding

$42 million 

Beyond addressing deferred maintenance, Providence news to achieve a cycle of proactive capital investment based on asset useful lives,” writes the report. “Based on these theoretical calculations, capital funding needs for life-cycle projects might be $42 million per year just for roads and buildings, not including sewers, sidewalks, or anything else.”

 
 

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