Council President Sue Cienki started Monday’s Town Council meeting – attendance 140 according to the fire marshal – with an apology for her remarks during a meeting in June with firefighter union representatives Bill Perry (union president) and firefighter Michael Jones, Fire Chief Russ McGillivray, former Town Manager Tom Coyle and Councilman Sean Todd, in which she made threatening comments to Perry and another firefighter not in attendance.
The incident came to light after Perry filed a sexual harassment complaint with McGillivray. An investigation by Town Solicitor David D’Agostino found Cienki did make the comments. The incident was to be discussed by the council in executive session Monday night. The three councilmen not at the June meeting only heard about the incident after it became public last week.
“I want to take this opportunity to apologize to the firefighter union president and anyone else I may have offended. I was speaking inappropriately and I regret it. I have since taken a class in civil discourse and I hope my apology will be accepted,” she said.
On Tuesday, Cienki said the civil discourse class was through the University of Arizona’s National Institute for Civil Discourse. She said she will also be taking part in a workshop on civil discourse when she attends the National Foundation for Women Legislators conference in November.
Perry, meanwhile, has seen two of his family members lose their East Greenwich jobs in recent days: his brother was fired from the fire department and his wife was laid off from the finance department.
– Elizabeth F. McNamara