Witman Refuses to Disclose Key Appointees, If Elected Providence Mayor

Monday, October 22, 2018


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Dee Dee Witman and Mayor Jorge Elorza

Providence Mayoral candidate Dianne “Dee Dee” Witman has been an outspoken critic of Mayor Jorge Elorza on a range of issues, from crime to the quality of the city's education system -- but she is refusing to say if she would replace the key players who were appointed by the sitting mayor, if elected.

About schools, Witman said, “Teachers have been without a contract for 2 years. No teacher contract means teachers don’t come to school early or leave late; they don’t staff open houses; and they don’t volunteer for any activities that are outside their expired contract.”

Witman declined to say if she would retain existing Superintendent Chris Maher. He was appointed interim Superintendent in April 2015 and was given the position permanently in June 2016.

Witman has been endorsed by former interim Superintendent of Providence Public Schools Bob DeRobbio. He challenged Elorza in the 2018 Democratic primary and finished third.

Shortly after the primary loss, De Robbio endorsed Witman.

“I’ve never had any discussions with Bob other than his support of my campaign. However, he has years of experience and I would listen to what he has to say,” said Witman in an email to GoLocalProv on Sunday.

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No promises to DeRobbio says Witman

Crime Top Issue — Won’t Disclose If She Will Retain Clements or Pare

According to Witman's website, “Providence Police Union says administration “put us on the back burner.” If the current administration doesn’t respect the police officers that risk their lives on a daily basis, why should city residents.”

Again, Witman won’t disclose the fate of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Pare or Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements under a Witman administration. 

The Providence police union endorsed Witman.

“I have spoken to numerous and highly qualified individuals who have expressed interest in joining my administration in senior capacities. It would be inappropriate for me to disclose their identities as they are presently employed,” said Witman on Sunday.

“As I have always said I can assure you that my administration will be comprised of youth and energy as well as gray hair and experience. Most of all the administration will reflect the demographic of the City. If you require anything further other than their identities please don't hesitate to contact me,” she added.

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She won't discuss Pare's fate

While Witman says her administration will reflect the city’s diversity, a GoLocal investigation found that after a year in office all of Elorza’s top appointees were comprised of only whites.

At the time, Go Local reported, "Where is the diversity at the top Elorza Administration? There's none," said NAACP Providence Branch President Jim Vincent. "I need to talk with him.  He needs to understand the politics, or he won't be reelected."

“Every non-union position would be reviewed. I am sure there [are] non-union qualified individuals in those positions and I'm equally sure that some may require change,” added Witman.


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