The Political Show in East Greenwich


Last night, the East Greenwich Town Council held a meeting at the high school to remedy the procedural issues that the state Superior Court had found around some of its recent management decisions.  Elizabeth McNamara provides a summary of the meeting for East Greenwich News and puts the audience at “more than” 500 people.

Reportage of the experience of being there came while the meeting was underway from NBC 10 reporter Crystal Bui’s Twitter stream.  One gets the impression that this might be Bui’s first contentious town meeting:

The short answer is, “no.” The council appointed Corrigan earlier this year and attempted to reappoint her at an aborted meeting last week. Taking public feedback is important, but at the end of the day, representative democracy isn’t about which side can put the loudest group of people in a room, which would obviously give advantage to a small minority that has large incentive to siphon resources from everybody else. Indeed, Bui gives indication that the crowd cheated in this regard:

So let’s be generous and assume that 300 people in the room were East Greenwich residents and a majority opposed what the council was doing. Given the crowd’s behavior, how likely is it that supporters of the council would want to speak up, especially knowing that many (probably most) in the boisterous opposition had influence over their children through the schools or would be their first responders in an emergency?

Council President Sue Cienki has it right when she tells McNamara: “People that are happy, they’re not going to come here to complain. They’re not going to come here to make comments.”  The next election will express the public’s will (and the special interests have an advantage even there), and by then, they’ll have had some time to observe the results.

  • Mike678

    The tide turns. Nice to see politicians with spines.

  • Christopher C. Reed

    Gail “Done it the wrong way” Corrigan takes a sledge to some iron rice bowls…the screaming begins…surprise, surprise.

  • Tyler

    I hope the Town council sticks to their mission. Power isn’t given. It is taken. And the Unions along with help from the prior union town manager had full control of E.G.. Gayle is the change agent and again pays the price. The town council is essentially volunteers and have to pay a high price. Unions have no rules when they fight. Public sector unions should never have been allowed. Just gangs! Most people back down from bullies and the Firemens union knows it. They have a lot of free time to stoke the fire.
    Interestingly Judge McGuirl said Gayle was the highest compensated employee in E.G.. Not true… Fire Union President Bill Perry made $165,000 last year and is the highest paid. Maybe a high school GED? No wonder RIslanders don’t value college. Get a union Fireman’s job and rip off the system.