Bill Stone got his first taste of town governance while serving on the Planning Board for the past three years. He was appointed to that panel. Now he hopes to be elected to the Town Council.
“East Greenwich is a very special place and I feel really lucky to be able to live here and raise my kids here,” he said in June after deciding to run. “As an EG resident for over a decade, and an entrepreneur who has successfully built an innovative legal services business, I feel I have something to offer the town and I would be very happy to serve on the Town Council.”
Stone, 48, a lawyer, is managing partner of the legal services companies Outside GC and Patent GC. He also happens to be married to Carolyn Mark, a member of the East Greenwich School Committee.
When asked what he called “the Carolyn question,” – whether or not there was a conflict of interest since the School Committee’s budget comes out of town coffers – Stone was ready.
“Before deciding to run for Town Council, I thought about whether there was any sort of conflict there…. I even took the step of calling the state Ethics Commission to get an informal opinion,” Stone said. “The feedback I got was that there is no conflict because as a town councilman, I would not be deciding any matter that would have any financial impact on Carolyn. She has no personal interest at stake.”
He said he’s proud of the work Mark is doing on the School Committee but emphasized that they were two different people with different opinions about many things.
“We’re quite independent professionals and we’re both very interested in serving the town,” Stone said.
What Stone thinks is more relevant about his personal life is that he and Mark have two children in the EG public schools, especially since the three council members with children in the schools are stepping down (Gee, Cianciolo and Kiernan). Stone credits part of the positive working relationship that’s grown between the Town Council and the School Committee in recent years to the fact that some councilors have children in the schools.
With regard to the schools, Stone is in favor of implementing all-day kindergarten in the district. While he knows the decision lies with the School Committee, he said the Town Council does have a role to play.
“The first step is to make sure the School Committee does its due diligence. We owe that to the residents,” he said. Then it would be up to the council to support the School Committee.
Stone said he would love to see a business move into the former Sunoco station at the corner of First Avenue and Main Street and a better use of the largely empty Bostitch building on South County Trail.
About the Main Street vacancy, he said, “Every time I go down Main Street, I notice new businesses. But that corner is awful.”
At the former Bostitch sight on South County Trail, Stone said, “I’d like to see more cars in the parking lot than geese in the front yard at that facility.”
On his wish list?
“I would love it if the waterfront was a more integral part of our life in East Greenwich,” he said, suggesting possibly holding special events Scalloptown.
You can find out more about Bill Stone at his Facebook page here. To watch Stone and the other seven other Town Council candidates, here’s a link to videos from the EG News Candidates Forum Oct. 16 at New England Tech.