I noticed something odd about a news report that Tiverton’s Interim Town Administrator Christopher Cotta and Town Council President Patricia Hilton were “livid” and “doubly frustrated” upon learning that Governor Gina Raimondo had permitted the reopening of the Twin River casino in town without consulting them:
Back when Hilton was granting herself full authority to amend the town’s Home Rule Charter (which is like our local constitution), her hired Town Solicitor Michael Marcello was happy to argue that the council president could change the charter on her own authority even though it’s on the level of state law, because “her powers are coterminous with those of the governor’s.” In other words, during a state of emergency, Marcello thinks every town’s top officer is like another governor.
Nevermind the lunacy of giving the state 40 governors during times of crisis, when a chain of command is especially important. If Marcello and Hilton actually believe this, there should be no problem with Twin River opening. If she doesn’t think the casino should open, Hilton should just use her “coterminous power” to keep it closed.
Maybe Michael Marcello’s legal argument was just a bunch of smoke to let Patricia Hilton do whatever she wanted to do, including depriving residents of their charter-derived rights. If Hilton tried that trick with the state, the governor and the courts would quickly slap her wrist away from the reins of power.
As the phrase goes: read the whole thing. There are also links to Facebook and Twitter for comments.