Susan Menard: ProJo Omits the No Bid Vroom-Vrooms

Woonsocket Mayor Susan Menard will be retiring on June 15.
The Providence Journal got that much right. And they kindly mentioned her accomplishments. What they left out was that an ethics complaint had been filed against her this week. Yes, the same newspaper that repeatedly and breathlessly speculated about some not-so-nefarious reasons for Bev Najarian to have stepped down as the Governor’s Director of Administration left this fairly significant development – some might even term a “factor” – out of their article reporting the retirement of Mayor Menard.
From the Valley Breeze:

In his two-page complaint, backed by various “proof” documents, [former police detective sergeant and City Council candidate Edward] Roy alleges that Menard violated state ethics law by her involvement in the process of leasing four Harley-Davidson motorcycles through her son-in-law’s dealership, Paramount Harley Davidson, in Framingham, Mass.
Roy said in the complaint that Paramount, with Menard’s son-in-law James Pilavin as a principal owner, is not the dealership contracted to the city by the Greater Boston Police Council, and leasing through the company “is an egregious violation of the Rhode Island General Laws”.

We should point out here that this was by no means a one-way transaction: James Pilavin made two contributions totalling $1,750 to Mayor Menard’s re-election campaign.
The motorcycles were for the use of the Woonsocket Police Department. The funding for the lease did not come from city coffers but from the Justice Department’s Local Law Enforcement Block Grants (“LLEBGs”). Nevertheless, the lease had to be offered as an RFP. It appears that this did not happen.

Speaking at Monday’s City Council meeting, council President Leo Fontaine said the timeline for the lease of the motorcycles last month is especially disturbing to him.
* At the Feb. 18 City Council meeting, Fontaine said the council asked why the city didn’t go out to bid, as the City Charter stipulates for such leases.
* On Feb. 19, he said, a quote came in from Boston Harley-Davidson.
* Now it has been discovered, according to Fontaine, that a $10,000 two-year lease payment was sent to Paramount on Feb. 18.
Why would we go out for bid a day after a payment was made?” he asked.

Well put.
The Providence Journal got itself updated and ran a more complete article yesterday on Mayor Menard’s retirement and questions that are arising out of her administration. These are not limited to the no-bid motorcycles.

Also, the City Council has started an internal investigation to determine, among other things, if city employees were being made to do work they should not be doing, although they would not get more specific. On Thursday, the council had planned to meet with two city employees it had subpoenaed to ask questions, but Menard hired an independent lawyer and was able to obtain a temporary restraining order in Superior Court to stop the meeting.

Here’s a question. Why would it be necessary to take steps to legally prevent the City Council from asking questions of city employees?
And another: who was doing what work they shouldn’t have, for whom were they doing it and who requested that they do it?

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16 years ago

Sue Menard is living proof that not all the good ‘ol boys are actually boys.
As for the ProJo, it’s another example of how the Dallas-mandated cutbacks not filling vacant positions, and closing the bureaus allows stories like this to fall through the cracks.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
16 years ago

Gee, Menard wouldn’t happen to be a DEMOCRAT, now would she?
Business as usual in the Democrat Party – Operation Dollar Bill, Woonsocket style.
It’s still amazing that there are no Democrats willing to publicly call for the cleanup of their party.
Guess they’re all on board with the Democrat corruption train.

16 years ago

Seems to me to possibly be a much bigger factor in her stepping down than that her chief left.
An ethics complaint that appears to have merit will make anyone want to run off to the Bahamas, especially when it’s just putting the cherry on top of a big mess.

16 years ago

Susan Menard was the single worst mayor Woonsocket ever had. Her only two accomplishments were to keep taxes low (the city gets almost all its money fromt the state, so big deal) and making the downtown prettier. Even that has raised a scandal because of how much the city spends to water the flowers.
Good riddance and I can’t wait for all the delightful little nuggets coming from long-disenfranchised department heads and city employees who will finally be allowed to talk all they want.
Just remember Sue, simply leaving office won’t make the ethics complaint go away. It will follow you out to Utah along with all the other baggage keeping your tired, sickly old eyes awake at night.

16 years ago

No One wanted to believe that there was something not good going on in Woonsocket. Everyone turned there head and closed there eyes. Remember you had two chances to get her out. Looks like Brien would have been the better choice.

13 years ago


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