A Town Run by a Triumvirate and a Union


On the latest episode of Tiverton on Track, I Zoomed with Tiverton Town Council Members Donna Cook and Nancy Driggs.

As may or may not be happening in other Rhode Island towns, the governor’s emergency declaration (not to mention the example that she’s setting) has dramatically reduced the number of town officials who actually matter.  With three Town Council members — Joseph Perry, John Edwards (the Fifth), and Stephen Clarke — as well as the leadership of the Budget Committee completely abdicating their authority and shirking their responsibility, the town is being entirely run by the triumvirate of Town Council President Patricia Hilton, Interim Town Administrator Christopher Cotta, and Town Solicitor Michael Marcello, with a supporting role for Vice President Denise DeMedeiros.  No other elected officials in town matter.  Even the town’s Home Rule Charter bends to what the Triumvirate decrees.

Meanwhile, on the school side, the suspended teachers’ union president and the National Education Association of Rhode Island are taking advantage of the fact that the school department is forbidden by law from disclosing details of the incident.  NEARI is also pledging to stick it’s well-funded, mobster-like nose in the town’s elections to ensure that the town has management that the union prefers starting in November.

  • Lou

    What can you do, Justin? You overplayed your hand and were recalled to soon. You lost your chance to be part of “the triumvirate” and all of the immense power and authority that goes with running Tiverton. I think it’s time you let go and respect the will of the voters.

    • Justin Katz

      I realize you’re just being demeaning, but you point to one of the most significant lies you and your allies spread during the recall: that we’re looking for power. Patricia Hilton and Denise DeMedeiros are the ones who relish being in charge. They’ll do what they think is best for the town, but it’s always more important that THEY think it is best for the town. Our approach is to let people decide what they think is best. That’s why we actually let people talk during meetings, wanted to release records from closed-door meetings, and so on.

      It was in no way “the will of the voters” that two people who weren’t actually elected should join together with two others to hand over complete power to somebody who was six out of seven in the last election. (The recall wasn’t an election. It was a political hit that relied on the power of out-of-town special interests.)

      • Lou

        Is it possible you think no one else is paying attention and you are free to create your own version of events? Only “the opposition” is looking for “power”, not you. Is that your story?

        Your revisionist history is laughable regarding “we actually let people talk during meetings”; in your typical half-truth style you neglect to mention it’s restricted to topics you had selected to place on the agenda.

        You apparently have a problem with “to hand over complete power to somebody who was six out of seven in the last election”, yet were downright giddy to hand it over to the seventh place finisher (Newport Rob) when you were “in power”.

        A ballot vote is “a political hit” when you lose, but something different when one of your FTM budgets pass. Guess what? They are both enabled by the same charter. Live with it..you were duly un-elected.

        Your hypocrisy is tiresome.

        • Justin Katz

          No revision. We had open forums at almost every meeting and we actually let people talk, unlike President Hilton. You’re just perpetuating lies, which you’re free to do because you hide behind a fake name. Do as you want, but take note that you’re the one choosing to bring your snark to this site. If the responses are tiresome, you don’t have to read them.

        • Justin Katz

          As to Rob being the 7th vote getter in the last election, there are two huge distinctions you’re ignoring:

          1. The three highest vote getters (Donna, me, and Nancy) understood that his views were in accord with ours.
          2. Chief among those views was that the president’s role was only minimally more significant than the other council members. We didn’t do Hilton’s “run the town by myself, with mere approval from the council” thing. Everybody could talk. Everybody could bring forward ideas. Everybody had a say.

          But that’s not how you and your pals like it… at least when you’re in charge. Talk about hypocrisy!

          • Lou

            You’re free to spin your “open forums” and “distinctions” any way you want. The facts are the facts.

            The most significant fact from your perspective should be the voters chose who they wanted to lead the town and you should respect that, you know…just like your referendums. The rest is just political spin and sour grapes.

            The difference between you and a few of your fanatics and the rest of the town is this: After elections/FTR’s, most townspeople accept the results and move on with their lives. You and a few others spend years whining and complaining about “stolen town meetings” and the “recall wasn’t an election. It was a political hit”. Do you think that might be a factor in why you are so disliked?

          • Justin Katz

            Oh, I get it. You’re actually on my side and acting in the character of one of the people on the other side. Well, “Lou,” you overdid it with the brazen hypocrisy of that comment. I mean, imagine one of the people who advocated for a recall election almost from the start of a brief two-year term complaining that other people don’t respect the results of elections. Hilarious!

            On the other hand, it is entirely in the character of our local opposition to think rules only apply to them and that the will of the voters is to be actively thwarted when they lose but that nobody should even be critical when they win.

          • Lou

            I still think you fail to recognize that respecting the will of the voters not only extends to the the elections you win, but also the lawful ones you don’t.