Last Tuesday night, after 11 p.m., from the comfort of their homes via Zoom, Matt Mannix, Rick Lema and Jill Lawlor decided to fire three dedicated, hard-working public servants for no reason other than petty politics.
The facts: At the most recent Narragansett Town Council meeting, the Council voted to relieve three dedicated members of the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library Board of Trustees of their duties. In their place, the Council voted to appoint two individuals to the Board, neither of whom have any related experience in the community library system. The vote on the remaining vacancy was until the next meeting.
Unsurprisingly, the three lawmakers rushing these appointments through were Council President Mannix (who is not seeking reelection), and Councilors Lema and Lawlor (who finished in seventh- and eighth-place, respectively in the primary election held in September). Besides claims of a need for “fresh blood,” these three lame-duck councilors offered no explanation in their decisions to deny the incumbents’ applications for reappointment, nor did they offer any arguments in favor of the two men who are slated to serve as their replacements.
Questions abound. What reasons do Councilors Lema, Lawlor and Mannix have for replacing three highly qualified board members? Perhaps most importantly: With less than 30 days until the November election, which will likely elect a brand-new Town Council, why was this vote even held?
This Town Council has one more meeting between now and the November election. I encourage my neighbors to tune in, and hold your elected representatives accountable. Then, on November 3, I urge you to vote for new leadership and finally put an end to this embarrassing chapter of our town’s history.