NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Kevin Maloney is back on the North Kingstown Town Council after being sworn in during a special session Monday night in the Municipal Courtroom to fulfill the remainder of former councilor Stacey Elliott’s term.
Maloney, an independent who served on the council from 2013 to 2018, finished the first runner up with the sixth most votes in the 2018 election, allowing him to be appointed to the council to fill any vacancies as long as he expressed an interest in doing so. His appointment was approved by a 3-1 vote, with Kerry McKay the lone dissenter.
McKay expressed his concerns with the process, saying he didn’t want to feel obligated to blindly support a nominee and questioned why the town charter didn’t call for background checks or other information, instead appointing whoever finished with the sixth most votes, and McKay acknowledged Maloney and him have had issues in the past stemming from their previous time on the council. Councilor Richard Welch, who also previously served with Maloney, rebuked McKay, saying he was making something out of nothing while Town Council President Greg Mancini added the charter would not allow for a member with criminal convictions to take the council regardless of votes.
Upon the passage of the vote, Maloney was immediately sworn in and took his seat on the council, voting on all of the remaining agenda items. With his swearing in, the party demographic of the Town Council changed as well, going from a slight three to two Democratic majority to two Democrats in Welch and Mancini, two Republicans in McKay and Mary Brimer and the independent Maloney.
Before the meeting got underway, Mancini paid tribute to Alvin Noss, a lifelong North Kingstown resident and World War II veteran who died on June 30 at the age of 106, which made him the oldest person living in town before his death.
“He will be missed by his friends and his family, as well as anybody who cares about history and this community,” Mancini said, adding that people could make donations to the North Kingstown Food Pantry in his name to honor his legacy.
The meeting also saw a notably long public comment, with multiple parents and students sharing their concerns and frustrations with what they said was a lack of communication and opportunity for input in regards to the North Kingstown School Department’s 2020/2021 academic reopening plan for the high school, with most of those who spoke expressing their desire for a return to full in-person classes at the high school rather than a hybrid in-person and distance learning curriculum and calling for an emergency meeting with both the Town Council and School Committee to have their voices heard.
After some brief discussion, the Town Council decided to extend an invitation to School Committee Chairman Gregory Blasbalg to hold a joint emergency meeting on Aug. 3.
In other business, all measures on the evening passed, with the most notable being the award of a $134,000 contract to Eagle Cornice Co. of Cranston for the purpose of replacing and repairing the roof at the North Kingstown Department of Public Works safety complex. The item, which was continued from July 13, raised some debate on the council as it did at the previous meeting before passing 4-1 with McKay in opposition.
The next scheduled regular Town Council meeting is set for Aug. 17.