Providence City Council

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


RIPR FILE

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.

UNITE HERE, Local 217, the hotel workers' union, is poised to support the Fogarty Building hotel project slated for a vote Tuesday by the Providence City Council's Finance Committee, if the committee backs an amendment ensuring a higher wage for workers at the hotel.

However, the Procaccianti Group, which is seeking a 13-year tax stabilization agreement to build a nine-story extended stay hotel on the site of the vacant Fogarty Building, questions whether requiring certain wages as part of the deal is legal.

RIPR FILE

Former Providence State Representative Leon Tejada  has agreed to plead guilty to federal tax and wire fraud charges.

Tejada, 50, has agreed to pay back more than $79,000 to the federal government and acknowledge that he knowingly prepared false income tax returns for clients and skimmed money from their refunds. He deposited the money into his bank account.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Mayor Jorge Elorza’s administration has reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union of North America, which represents city employees in City Hall, the School Department and the Parks and Public Works Departments.

Courtesy of Hinckley Allen

Malcolm "Mac" Farmer III will receive the Family Service of Rhode Island’s Brighter Futures Award, which is given annually to a person or organization making an "outstanding contribution to the well-being of children.’’

The South Providence Recreation Center will be renamed tomorrow for the late John H. Rollins, a former Providence City Council member, civil rights activist and football star at both La Salle Academy and the University of Rhode Island.

John Bender / RIPR

The Providence City Council approved a new zoning ordinance limiting student housing in the city. The council voted 11-3 to approve the ordinance.

Proponents say the ordinance will help alleviate the disruptive college partying, residents say is encroaching into quiet neighborhoods. They say landlords are buying up single family homes, and filling them with college kids.

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