Cranston’s 2011 Inaugural Ceremonies (Plus Some Non-Ceremonious Stuff), Part 3

Here’s the non-ceremonious part of Monday night’s inaugural ceremonies in Cranston. After his official address to the public, Cranston City Council President Anthony Lupino attempted to appoint City Council Committee chairmen. Three of the Democrats appointed by President Lupino to chairmanships, but who had not voted for Councilman Lupino, objected to being appointed. Councilman Emilio Navarro went first…

We are very disappointed that you have put our names, as minority Democrats, to serve as chairmen and vice-chairmen of the committees tonight, knowing full-well that we have declined those assignments… Audio: 1m 18s

…To appoint Democrats to chairmanships would be an attempt to camouflage that this is a new Republican coalition that is in control. Appointing minority Democrats to chairs would be in name only, because the Republican coalition would represent the majority of the committees and, as such, this new majority which has elected its new leaders who have set up the committees now sets their agenda, their rules. It doesn’t make any sense to have minority Democrats serve as chairs… (Note: At and the end of his remarks, Councilman Navarro received a round of applause)Audio: 2m 15s

Councilman Lupino responded…

Just to dispel a few misconceptions, Councilman Pelletier and myself were elected as Democrats and we remain Democrats…The purpose of being elected to the City Council is to serve your constituents. I spoke in my address to you about blurring the lines between the parties. We are here to represent the people. You run as a Democrat. You rule as a City Councilman. (Note: Councilman Lupino received the loudest spontaneous round applause of the evening, at the end of this clip). Audio: 1m 10s

The appointments, per the charter, will remain… Audio: 1m 27s

Democratic Councilman Steven Stycos then declined the chairmanship of the claims committee…

I think that so much of politics is built on trust, and that you as the President need to have people who you trust chairing the committees… Audio: 2m 42s
I spoke with Councilman Stycos after the meeting had adjourned, and he expanded on what I think is a reasonable point: A council President should appoint committee chairmen from his leadership supporters, so that when the occasional honest mistakes or miscommunications occur in the transfer of business back and forth from committees to the full council, worries that some kind of gamesmanship is occurring will be minimized.

Finally, Democratic Councilman Paul Archetto declined the chairmanship of the ordinance committee…

I would like to say that I will resign that position as chairman of the ordinance committee, due to the fact that I will only be a figurehead. I know in reality who will be running that committee as well as you do, Council President. I would like to say that I was not consulted in any way, shape or form… Audio: 1m 25s

And with that, we’re off, for 2011 and maybe beyond…

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