Letter to the Editor: I’ll Get You My Pretty … and Your 6 Lateral Transfers Too

It sure feels like Ms. Corrigan is trying to get rid of the six lateral transfers hired by the fire department in 2016, one way or another.

Ms. Corrigan is now using a 3-platoon, 56-hour work-week system as a way to get rid of the six firefighters.

Let’s look at the history of her actions:

It just so happens that she is trying to remove the same six firefighters that she complained about while testifying in the James Perry case.

Ms. Corrigan said she felt a lateral hiring process was “discriminatory” because “generally the number of firefighters that are currently employed are predominately white males” and that the CBA, charter language, the active hiring list were all “thrown away” in the lateral hiring process used. Ms. Corrigan testified that she “took it very seriously and spent a lot of time and energy trying to understand what had happened, how the laterals had come in, how the whole CBA had been — it was almost like a tip of the iceberg is this firing” and why she thought “relying on solely lateral hires is a bad idea” and “not a best practice in employment.”

When questioned further and asked about being discriminatory and if that bothered her, Ms. Corrigan replied, “It’s a fact, it’s a discriminatory practice. As you know, with employment law, there’s a lot, EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission], the Town has an affirmative action program, all of these things when you are hiring laterals, it’s a fact that you are not — you are reducing the subset. It’s a fact. It doesn’t bother me. It’s a fact you are reducing the people that can apply.”

Perhaps the tip of the iceberg stopped with Jim Perry because Justice McGuirl ruled, “This Court finds without question based on the credible evidence before it that Corrigan did not engage in ‘careful and factual consideration,’ as required by §45-1 of the CBA before terminating FF Perry for ‘just cause.'”

And, “There was no valid basis to terminate FF Perry.”

Gall-lee said Gomer Pyke, I’m sure glad Ms. Corrigan didn’t reduce the subset and followed employment law, the EEOC and the Town’s affirmative action program when hiring Ms. Dykeman and Ms. Antunes.

Also noted in the decision of that case is where the judge wrote, “Corrigan stated that her analysis revealed a structural deficit and, in her professional opinion, the lateral transfer procedures were a major contributing factor.” The only other familiar statement from Ms. Corrigan that appears to be missing was about that being “unsustainable” as well.

OK. That didn’t work, let’s try this . . . .

Ms. Corrigan now comes along with a plan to have the firefighters work more hours per week on average (56 rather than 42), while saying it is being done “due to the recognized fiscal and, more importantly, health, safety and wellness concerns from such extensive overtime hours.” So I guess if a firefighter has a bad night and works the 24-hour shift continuously and then has to work overtime, that is now somehow safer than a firefighter who works a 10 or 14 hour shift and has to work overtime.

Ms. Corrigan recognizes the changes as structural changes that will take legal opinions and potentially additional complaints for summary judgement, i.e. a softer way of saying additional lawsuits. Apparently, we haven’t spent enough yet on legal fees.

Ms. Corrigan said she will supply the council with her progress reports at the meeting on June 11. So much for the town manager search, maybe Santa will bring us a new one.

– William Higgins

William Higgins, retired EG police officer and former EMA director for the town, lives in East Greenwich.

Letter to the Editor: Thank You, President Cienki … Not

I am writing in response to the letter by Town Council President Cienki to the residents regarding, “Incorrect cost calculations. Misleading reporting. Cronyism and nepotism. Unapproved agreements. Improper loans. Discriminatory hiring practices.”

Thank you Council President Cienki for your thorough and careful review of what had been taking place in our cozy little town.

I am pleased to know that you and your fellow councilors addressed the issue of cronyism and nepotism. I’m certainly glad to know that Ms. Corrigan was hired after a careful and thorough review of her qualifications and abilities as required by the town charter and the council didn’t rush to appoint her because she was initially recommended from some future politician. I’m also pleased to know this was not guised by the council’s claim of a dire need for an emergency management director. I am also happy to see where this was done in an open and transparent manner and not hidden through an executive session.

It is also reassuring to know that Ms. Corrigan refused to follow in the footsteps of those who allowed their personal connections and relatives to be hired. It was nice to see that Ms. Corrigan didn’t sign a term sheet (contract) with Linda Dykeman on July 11, 2017, and the contents thereof because that was never presented to, nor approved by the Town Council. The same would apply to Ms. Antunes, the chief of staff, where Ms. Corrigan again didn’t sign a term sheet on July 6, 2017, because that too wasn’t presented to, nor approved by the Town Council. Knowing that Ms. Corrigan is a business consultant with Ms. Dykeman and connected with Ms. Antunes through the Hope Club, I feel there was surely safeguards in place to make sure cronyism didn’t exist. I’m sure safeguards were in place to remove any appearance of impropriety. The town surely would have followed their personnel policy by way of advertising, reviewing applicants and making these appointments in an open, transparent and non-discriminatory manner, as I’m sure no males applied for those positions.

Thank goodness, the misleading reporting has vanished since the arrival of Ms. Corrigan. No longer can we expect darkness plague our information. No longer can we expect consultants to be hired behind the taxpayers back. No longer will we see where an acting town manager will tell a Providence Journal reporter that her assistant will receive the same pay as the previous administrative assistant only to find out within two weeks she was given a $20,000 increase from what the administrative assistant had been paid.

President Cienki’s letter says, “We are moving forward to get the Town back on the right path.” If this is going forward, please considers going backwards for a while until we catch up.

Maybe I should have started my letter with Open Meeting Act violations, APRA Violations, Town Charter violations, contracts signed without council approval, misleading unfunded liability statements, discriminatory hiring practices, etc., etc., etc. I guess only the names have changed.

– William Higgins

Gun Stolen From Retired EG Police Officer Used In Homicide

A service gun stolen from the house of retired EG Police Capt. Bill Higgins in November 2012 was used in a homicide, North Providence police said Tuesday.

Dari Garcia is accused of the shooting death of Richard Catalano, 26, during a home invasion on Eliot Avenue in North Providence in August. Catalano’s mother was also shot during the incident. The gun was found at the scene.

“We got the report back from the state crime lab, they were able to restore the numbers on the firearm. Upon checking the computer system, we discovered that the firearm was stolen in 2012 out of East Greenwich,” North Providence Police Captain Daniel Cennamo told WPRI. “We contacted East Greenwich, they confirmed it was stolen, it was in reference to a B&E that occurred in their community.”

EG Deputy Chief Skip Cirella said Tuesday evening they had not yet heard from North Providence police about the gun so he could not confirm it was the same weapon.

In November 2012, East Greenwich retired police captain Bill Higgins reported that his service gun was stolen fro his Greenwich Boulevard house during a house break. Higgins had been allowed to buy the weapon, a SigSauer P220 .45 caliber handgun, at a prorated amount, as per EGPD policy.

The break in was one of three that happened in the vicinity that same week. The others took place on Eugene Street and Howland Drive.