Providence City Council

It's not every week that begins with 38 Studios and ends with a yoga pants dispute in Barrington. But that's why Rhode Island is the gift that keeps giving. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.


Citing the city's tight financial picture, Finance Committee members decided Tuesday to withdraw support for a $40 million infrastructure bond proposed by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. 

The money was intended for several projects including street and sidewalk repairs, as well as improvements to city sewer systems and parks and recreation facilities.  

Members opposing the measure cited unfunded pension liabilities for retirees, and a poor rating from the credit ratings agency Moody’s.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Critics of Providence City Councilor Kevin Jackson are gathering signatures in an attempt to knock him out of office.

Signatures of 20 percent of the registered voters in Jackson’s Ward 3 district need to be gathered within 120 days days to trigger a recall election.

Jackson is accused of making personal use of campaign contributions and embezzling more than $127,000 from a youth sports organization. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due back in court in December.

October beckons, with playoff baseball, autumnal beauty, and the run-up to the deciding of legislative races. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. (A quick program note: I'm taking most of next week off, so TGIF will probably not return until October 14.) Here we go.

Ward 15 Providence Councilor Sabina Matos joins Bonus Q&A to talk about city finances, the thaw in the dispute with firefighters, Kennedy Plaza, charter schools, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Ward 15 Providence Councilor Sabina Matos joins Political Roundtable to discuss this week's presidential debate, the outlook for Providence's pension fund, and the significance of the body cams being adopted by Providence police.

Mid-May and the political kettle keeps bubbling. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

The Rhode Island Genealogical Society is honoring Paul Campbell, the former Providence city archivist who was fired in December, 2015 by the city council.

Campbell, who is also a noted Rhode Island historian, will receive an award for ``exemplary service to Rhode Island Genealogy by a public employee,’’ the society said in a news release.

The society called Campbell’s abrupt firing an `unwarranted dismissal’ that ``has come as a severe blow to Rhode Island researchers everywhere.’’

John Bender / RIPR

Thomas Spann, longtime coach for the Providence Cobras, said he was surprised to learn of the investigation into the program's founder, Providence City Council Majority Leader Kevin Jackson. On Wednesday, Jackson was charged with embezzling more than $127,000 from the youth track-and-field program and misusing campaign funds.

"Things are going great with the program, and this has nothing to do with the kids, the parents or myself," said Spann, reached by telephone on Wednesday afternoon.

Spann said the team is still holding practices three times a week, as usual.

Ian Donnis / RIPR


Providence’s precarious finances are once again the top topic at City Hall. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says capital homeowners should be prepared for a tax increase this year.

Leon F. Tejada, a former Providence City Council member and state representative, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison for devising and executing two tax fraud schemes to steal tax refunds from  76 taxpayers whose returns he prepared and filed.

RIPR file photo

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s first year in office has been dominated by a caustic dispute with the city’s unionized firefighters. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why the labor dispute has gotten so nasty.

RIPR file photo

Paul Campbell, Providence’s veteran city archivist, has been fired just days after being suspended with pay.

On Wednesday Campbell confirmed reports that he has been terminated. He said in an interview that he was given a two-sentence letter by the city clerk that said he would not be reappointed when his term expires in January.

There is disagreement on Campbell’s union status. Campbell said he is a member of Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union of North America and that the union has agreed to file a grievance on his behalf.

Buddy Cianci’s mayoral portrait is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday evening at Providence City Hall with a reception to follow at the Roma restaurant on Federal Hill.

But there has been a last-minute change of plans because one of the men slated to officiate at Cianci’s ceremony – Providence City Archivist Paul Campbell – has been suspended with pay from his $60,000 a year job.