Small Strands of the RI Web of Interests

Simply because it represented an unanticipated expenditure during a time of extremely tight budgets — indeed, when the town council is pondering a “token” reduction in its own pay totaling $2,520 — I made note of the Tiverton Town Council’s decision to make $900 available to municipal officials to attend a Grow Smart RI workshop on “making good land-use decisions.” Now, I don’t want to make a big deal of such a (relatively) small expenditure, and the council did pass the measure unanimously, but there’s a curious point to consider.
Town Solicitor Andrew Teitz made the suggestion during his “announcements, comments and questions” section at the tail end of the meeting, and ex-president Louise Durfee was the first to ask questions about the cost. She initially asked whether $90 was to cover all attendees and then made a joke indicating some surprise at the high expense. Yet, when it came down to it, she was the one who made the motion to release almost a thousand dollars.
She’s also listed as a director emeritus of Grow Smart and was an active member of the board of directors until a few years ago.
Like I said: It’s a small thing, but we’ve all heard the phrase “death by a thousand paper cuts.” It’s a torturous death, indeed, when experienced amid the salt of layoffs, foreclosures, and general financial hardship. To a carpenter who just found himself $50 short of the amount needed to avoid late fees on his mortgage (which, incidentally, would have been affordable had his property taxes not gone up so much this year), $900 isn’t such a token.

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