Letter to the Editor: Cienki Says Council Hires & Doesn’t Hire – Which Is It?

by | Jan 27, 2018

As a resident of East Greenwich, I have been closely following the many recent news items related to East Greenwich’s municipal government, including a January 19 article in the Pendulum regarding the Ethics Commission’s investigation of Gayle Corrigan. As I understand it, a threshold issue before the Ethics Commission is whether Corrigan or the Town Council is responsible for hiring the Town’s Finance Director. Having read a few different accounts, I remain unclear.

A January 12 article in the East Greenwich News quotes Town Council President Sue Cienki as saying “Per the Town Charter, the Town’s finance director is appointed by the Town Council, not the town manager. . . . It was the Council’s decision to hire Ms. Dykeman, not Ms. Corrigan’s.” 

EG News confirmed that the article quotes Cienki’s written statement verbatim. 

Yet in a meeting held on December 20 with me, two other residents, and Council Vice President Sean Todd, Ms. Cienki said, “We’re a policy board.  That’s what we do.  The only management control we have is Town Manager.  That’s the only person we appoint and fire.”  The audio clip below contains that statement (the meeting was recorded with the knowledge and consent of all attendees).

I have submitted an email similar to this to the editor of the Pendulum as well.  Has EG News reached out to any of the East Greenwich Town Councilors for their comment to this article? Does their president have a clear understanding of the scope of the Town Council’s powers? Do they?

Thank you,

Anne Musella

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David Caldwell
David Caldwell
January 28, 2018 6:54 pm

To break the tie between Cienki and Cienki, we may refer to a few things:

1. The Town Charter. Section 91 reads, in pertinent part, “The Director of Finance shall be appointed by the Town Manager with the approval of the Town Council.” So the Town Manager appoints the Finance Director.

2. In addition, we may look to the process used to appoint Ms. Dykeman. To my knowledge, and to the knowledge of Dr. Schwager (which he has publicly stated), the Town Council did not vote on Ms. Dykeman’s appointment effective in July 2017. So it sounds like the Town Manager named her.

3. Sean Todd’s sworn testimony also suggests Corrigan did the hiring:
* * *
Wiens: [Corrigan is] now the Town Manager. Linda Dykeman also worked for Providence Analytics. She is now the Finance Director. You didn’t see a problem with that?

Todd: I didn’t think there was anybody better to implement the plan than the people that put the plan together.

Wiens: Did you discuss putting the jobs out to bid?

Todd: Again, these are like issues that happened within the Town Hall that – we’re an advisory board. We are not making personnel decisions of individuals.
* * *
Cienki’s obfuscation on this point is a transparent attempt to protect Corrigan from the ethics law. Under the Charter, using the Council’s actions and history, and using Vice President Todd’s sworn testimony — in addition to the prior statements by Cienki Ms. Musella cites — it’s easy to see who hired Dykeman. Gayle Corrigan did — with the approval of the Town Council, but at her own initiative.

That’s why she’s under an ethics investigation. Rightly so.

Tracie Truesdell
Tracie Truesdell
January 28, 2018 8:49 pm

When I ask my kids:
Me: Who made this mess??
Kids: (Both point at the other simulataneously).

Insert Cienki and Corrigan instead of my children (who, by the way are far more respectful and well behaved than Cienki and/or Corrigan).


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