EXCLUSIVE: 2 Providence Councilwomen Say Council President Salvatore Screamed at Them After Meeting

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


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City Council President David Salvatore

Two members of the Providence City Council are saying Council President David Salvatore accosted Ordinance Committee members Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan and Councilwoman Carmen Castillo after their votes to hold an agenda item on minority and women-owned businesses for further review. And, a third member of the Council said he witnessed the verbal intimidation.

"It was completely inappropriate and uncalled for," said Ryan, who said she got a text from Salvatore saying it was "shameful" she voted to hold the agenda item -- before getting in a verbal altercation with Ryan and Castillo following the meeting. 

"The ordinance came before the committee. We asked where the changes came from, which is common. Who's making the changes? This is an ordinance that is on the books," Ryan. "The story behind the story is the city isn't meeting its obligation [for minority and women-owned business] -- we're getting something like 2%.  Part of that includes that women and minorities don't post for jobs, and there's a lack of capacity."

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Councilwoman Ryan

"So I'm thinking we're looking at the ordinance with the intention of solving the problem. What was before us was changing some words around -- it was just a trophy piece of legislation. I asked [Councilman Principe] to ask the city solicitor if they reviewed it. The solicitor said they received it that morning, and that she basically said she wanted more time to review."

"Then Salvatore comes storming in on the need for the legislation, that the city's doing a poor job, that he supports women and minorities -- and we need to pass this ordinance right now," said Ryan. "I basically heard what I heard -- I said to the Chair we need to continue the matter and give the committed more time to review the changes."

"So we all voted to continue -- it was unanimous," said Ryan. "What Salvatore was pushing for was to approve it out of committee to get to the floor and if the solicitor made any changes we'd do on the floor."

Councilman Michael Corriea confirmed the incident, "After the meeting, Ryan showed me the text which said it was shameful not voting for women's rights....then I saw Carmen Castillo," said Correia. "She was pretty upset, she said she was disrespected and treated like a child -- she ran into Jo-Ann who told her what happened to her."

"As we walked outside, the Council President exited the building and words were exchanged between them all, " said Correia. I said to [Ryan and Castillo] let's move on -- he was talking in a loud tone.  I said let's let them leave.  He continued to holler at them as he was walking away."

Vote Aftermath

"After the vote, I get a text from Salvatore -- he said I should be supporting women's issues, and that I'm shameful," said Ryan. "I said you don't have the facts -- he was spouting off facts that were incorrect for as far as I know."

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Councilwoman Castillo

Castillo spoke about what she encountered with Salvatore 

"After the meeting, I went to the City Council office," said Castillo. "Salvatore called me in the office and said shame on you, you don't support women. I said it's not like that. This is why we have a [city] lawyer, to advise us when we need review. I know what I'm doing. He was screaming at me. I said listen -- if we're going to pass it I want to be sure."

"I said I'm not your daughter -- I was almost crying," said Castillo. "I left the office, and talked with [Councilman] Correia -- and I see Councilman Ryan. Then Salvatore came out and started again out the door, 'Shame, shame, shame.' I feel 'cause I'm Latina and minority -- I don't know how he can say he say he supports women and minorities and he treats me like that."

Salvatore did not return request for comment. 

This story was first published 10/16/18 12:18 PM


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