News Flash

Town News and Updates

Posted on: November 21, 2022

Town Council Leadership Returning

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Paul Rodrigues and Thomas Welch are selected unanimously to return as Town Council president and vice president respectively, pledging to work hard for the best of Middletown with everything they do. #MiddletownRI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 842-6543 or msheley@middletownri.com 


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TOWN COUNCIL LEADERSHIP RETURNING

 

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (NOVEMBER 21, 2022) – Paul M. Rodrigues looks like he’s in line to be president of the Town Council president for another two years.


During a special council meeting Monday night from Town Hall, Rodrigues was named unanimously as the council president elect, picking up where he left off prior to the Nov. 8 election.


Thomas P. Welch III was selected unanimously again as vice president, meaning the leadership team from the 2020-2022 council will remain in place.


Before any of the nominations are finalized, they must be okayed at a Nov. 28 swearing-in ceremony at 6 pm in the Middletown High School cafetorium, 130 Valley Road. It’s customary for the council-elect to schedule a public pre-discussion so all the details can be hashed out before the pomp of the official swearing-in.


“I’m grateful, very grateful to be selected,” Rodrigues said after the meeting. “I think we’ve got a great group here moving forward. Tom and Chris (Logan) have that much more seasoning and Peter (Connerton) and Emily (Tessier) bring an enthusiasm and fresh set of eyes to everything. I know we’re all excited to hit the ground running.”


Asked what he saw as priorities, Rodrigues said “housing and the schools.”


“Everywhere you go, people talk about the cost of housing and we’re working on it,” Rodrigues said. “We have our Oliphant and Peckham School projects and there are other irons in the fire. It’s something we definitely have to address and the schools are no different.” 


Rodrigues and Councilwoman M. Theresa Santos have the most experience on the council among an already pretty seasoned group. 


Rodrigues service on the town’s top elected body goes back to 1998. All told, he’s been on the council for 16 years since, including multiple times as council president. Before his time on the council, Rodrigues was a member of the town’s Zoning Board of Review.


For Santos, a longtime former employee with the town’s finance office, she’s served 20 years own the council. Even with newcomers Peter Connerton and Emily Tessier, the group rounded out by Christopher Logan and Dennis B. Turano has close to 50 years of experience serving the community on the council.


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That background will be needed as the council faces a number of significant items over the next couple years. Chief among those include resolving ongoing deficits with the school spending and deciding what to do about the community’s aging schools. 


The School Building Committee has a planning meeting slated for Nov. 30 at 3 pm from the Oliphant administration building, 26 Oliphant Lane. There, building board members and community leaders are expected to start mapping out the beginnings of a special election in April to vote on a school improvement project. For more about those preliminary discussions, visit https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/6169/NYCU-SBC- online.


This council is also facing critical decisions about the proposed Middletown Center development at 600-740 West Main Road, affordable housing and other items on the town’s agenda.


Opening the meeting Monday, council members and others on hand exchanged pleasantries, wishing each other congratulations for the results of the Nov. 8 election. Then, Town Clerk Wendy J.W. Marshall made it clear that any voters taken were not official until the swearing-in ceremony on Nov. 28.


From there, the council quickly selected its leadership team before turning its focus to other positions.


Among the selections made Monday included:

  • Frank Holbrook as Municipal Court judge.
  • Robert Silva as assistant Municipal Court judge.
  • Kevin Hagan as second assistant Municipal Court judge.
  • Michael Miller as Probate Court judge.
  • Barbara Barrow as assistant Probate Court judge.
  • Peter Regan as town solicitor.
  • Anthony Pesare as town prosecutor.

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Document Link: https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/6211/NYCU-Council-Leadership


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