Gayle Corrigan, the controversial East Greenwich town manager, will retain her position for now. The Town Council voted 3-2 Monday night to reinstate Corrigan despite vocal opposition.
Some 500 people packed the East Greenwich High School auditorium, many of them residents, there to protest the proposal to reappoint Corrigan. Corrigan has proved to be a lightening rod in the affluent town for implementing what some consider a drastic approach to shore up town finances.
This month a Superior Court judge found the Town Council violated the Open Meetings Act in hiring Corrigan, drawing the ire of some residents including David Caldwell. Caldwell led efforts to organize residents opposed to the council’s plan to rehire Corrigan.
“We’re obviously very disappointed that the council has chosen to move forward in the face of what you’ve got to call overwhelming opposition,” Caldwell said. “Hundreds of people here tonight, nearly all opposed to what they’re doing and yet they bully on forward.”
Two of the five councilors voted against the reappointment. Democrat Mark Schwager was one of the councilors to vote against the rehiring of Corrigan.
“I think we had the opportunity, especially given the Superior Court opinion to really change course,” Schwager said. “We had the information, we had the public outcry, we had the opportunity to put in a new town manager.”
The Town Council President said she believed it was prudent to keep Corrigan, as she finishes the audit, and a replacement can be found.