On the job

Solomon names DePasquale chief of staff, starts budget review

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Joseph Solomon got a lift to work Wednesday from his son, Joseph Solomon Jr. That was a good thing, because not until he got to City Hall did he get the keys to the mayor’s car.

Solomon, who assumed the role of acting mayor Wednesday, was on the job by 7:30 a.m. He found stark surroundings, the walls stripped of plaques, paintings and personal belonging such as a framed jersey of Cal Ripken Jr. It was a fresh beginning.

Although he didn’t have a transition team, Solomon didn’t waste time in naming City Planner William DePasquale as his chief of staff. From Avedisian’s staff, he has kept Courtney Marciano in the role of public information officer and brought in Beverley Hall from the City Clerk’s office in the role of receptionist.

Solomon made the announcements joined by DePasquale, Marciano and Hall as well as council members Timothy Howe, Ward 3, Steve McAllister, Ward 7, and Steve Merolla, Ward 9. He referred to those around the table as part of his “team.”

There will be more changes, but nothing of a wholesale nature.

“Anyone doing their job remains doing their job,” he said. “If they are not doing their job then we have a problem.”

As City Council president, Solomon became acting mayor with Avedisian’s resignation to become the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Solomon has announced he will be a candidate for mayor in November.

Although Solomon offered no plan to replace department directors, there is a vacancy with the recent retirement of Fire Chief James McLaughlin. Assistant Chief Marcel Fontenault is acting chief, and Solomon said he sees no immediacy to naming a chief, even though Avedisian had not been able to reach a contract agreement with the firefighters, which raises issues with the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The city budget is foremost in Solomon’s concerns.

On Tuesday Avedisian, as mayor, forwarded a $310.6 million budget to the City Council, an increase of $2.4 million in spending. It is the first no tax increase budget Avedisian proposed in his 18 years as mayor. To make it balance, Avedisian basically level-funded departments while drawing down $3.8 million from city reserves.

In apparent acknowledgement that Solomon chose not to be involved in the budget process, preferring him to submit a budget, Avedisian writes in his budget message, “It is incredibly difficult to outline and determine a set of priorities for which the new administration to govern.”

Avedisian goes on to say this budget process is unlike any other and his budget is a “preservation budget.” He makes it clear he would not speculate on whether his budget will remain intact, “as it is difficult to assess the priorities of the incoming administration.”

Solomon could not say at this time whether a no tax increase budget is possible. Likewise, he was not prepared to speak on whether he might cut or increase allocations made by the mayor.

Specifically on the level funding of schools – the School Committee approved a budget request for an additional $8 million in city funding – Solomon pointed out that Avedisian and Superintendent Philip Thornton have a good relationship and he believes the level funding of schools was not made in a vacuum. Solomon said he intends to meet with Thornton and Anthony Ferrucci, director of school finances.

DePasquale, who served a stint as chief of staff for Avedisian, will hold both the position of city planner and chief of staff.

“I am humbled by [Solomon’s] support for my 29 years of service,” he said.

DePasquale said he looks forward to help Solomon build off the successes of the Avedisian administration while addressing issues concerning the city’s infrastructure including roads, the City Hall Annex that had to be relocated to the former Greene School after a burst water pipe and conditions of city schools.

Solomon said he looks to getting “back to basics of each ward.”

That resonated with McAllister, who pointed out that within the past 24 hours a Department of Public Works crew had stripped a crosswalk on Long Street.

Asked if he knew the Warwick Veterans Council is not planning to host a Memorial Day parade, the junior Solomon answered before his father. He said while there won’t be a parade, there would be an observance. His father assured there would be a parade next year.

Referring to Avedisian’s budget message that highlights achievements of his administration and thanks those who worked with him, Merolla said, “I have never seen a budget address with no rationale for schools.”

Solomon, how has served on the City Council for 18 years, said he would seek to do “what’s fair and equitable for everybody.” He vowed his administration would be transparent and there would be open lines of communication. He used the word “compromise” in arriving at agreements.

“I plan on reaching every department; I have a good feeling about things,” Solomon said.

Soon afterward Solomon, accompanied by his son and McAllister, was walking through City Hall offices greeting employees they knew and making introductions to those they were meeting for the first time.

As Solomon turned to leave the finance department, he urged employees to bring their ideas and concerns to him.

“My door is open,” he said.

Comments

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richardcorrente

Bill DePasquale is, and was, the best Chief-of-Staff for the City of Warwick.

"Solomon chose NOT to be involved in the budget process." ??

Not being involved in the budget process? Are you kidding me? Former Mayor Avedisian writes "It is incredibly difficult to outline and determine a set of priorities for which the new administration to govern."

I sincerely hope Joe Solomon doesn't raise taxes and then say "It's not my doing. I wasn't involved in the budget process. Blame Avedisian!" I sincerely hope.

Happy Spring everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, May 17
CrickeeRaven

"It's not my doing. I wasn't involved in the budget process. Blame Avedisian!"

This has been the make-believe mayor's whole message about the city budget for the duration of his futile campaigning -- and now he is projecting it on the same person he previously praised in a pathetic attempt to gain votes.

It is a certainty that the make-believe mayor will continue his pathetic attempts to gain attention from honest, taxpaying voters -- and that he will suffer another defeat as voters learn the truth about him.

Thursday, May 17
richardcorrente

Dear CrickeeRaven,

You anonymous critic.

Please re-read my comment.

I didn't "project" that Mayor Solomon would "blame Avedisian", I said "I sincerely hope he doesn't". You misquoted me...again.

You are right about one thing though. It is an attempt on my part to gain votes. I sincerely want the voters to know where I stand, and it's very unfortunate that they don't know where Joe stands. I think it's critically important that they are informed about their elected officials. I think they will respond positively to it. On the other hand Mayor Solomon does "not want to be involved in the budget process" ??? Isn't that what we have a Mayor for?

What's your feeling on that CR? Do you support Solomon's decision to "not be involved?"

For the record, I don't.

Friday, May 18
Scal1024

"They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He hasn't. His father is a class act and Joe Jr is the next generation. I have listened to him agree with those in the State House and I have heard him disagree. In both cases it was with the same level "total respect."

I support this great young man and I recommend the reader does as well"

- Rick Corrente

Warwick Beacon, Thursday September 1st 2016

"You are right about one thing though, it is an attempt on my part to gain votes. I sincerely want the voters to know where I stand and its very unfortunate they don't know where Joe stands."

-Rick Corrente

Warwick Beacon, Friday May 18th 2018

Now back to my regular Scal1024 commenting...

Both comments were taken right from this same comment section Sept 1st, 2016 and May 18th 2018. Were you misquoted here too? You fraud! One thing is for certain...Rick Corrente will say and do anything to get elected. In the '16 General Election Rick Corrente needed Joe Solomon if he wanted to be taken seriously (not that it helped) so he used Mayor Solomon's name, called the City Council THAT JOE SOLOMON PRESIDED OVER THE "HARDEST WORKING CITY COUNCIL" Warwick had ever seen. Now that Mr Solomon is running for Mayor, Rick Corrente has stabbed him in the back. This disgusting act by a failing political opportunist shows the type of character Rick Corrente possesses.

Who wouldn't want "a class act" to be our next Mayor? What could have possibly changed Correntes mind about Joe Solomon so quickly? What a pathetic, empty suit shell of a man Rick Corrente is proving to be.

Friday, May 18
Kammy

Consistency + Richard Corrente = nonexistent except when quoting the same wrong facts over and over.

I have noticed the same trend. Solomon was your buddy until he decided to run for mayor and then BOOM.

Friday, May 18
CrickeeRaven

Hello again, Kammy and Scal:

What's striking to me is that, long after reasonable people would have either corrected their statements or simply stopped commenting because of how often their statement were proven wrong, the make-believe mayor just keeps adding more and more examples to the already-extensive proof of his complete unfitness for office. Like the following...

- "I sincerely want the voters to know where I stand..."

It has been made very clear to the vast majority of voters that the make-believe mayor stands for tax delinquencies, repeated falsehoods, unethical campaign activities, and cynical political opportunism.

This is the result of all the effort the make-believe mayor has willingly put into using the Beacon website for free political advertising and wasting $40,000 on his losing 2016 campaign. He has no one to blame for his ultimate rejection by honest, taxpaying voters except himself.

- "You anonymous critic."

Aside from repeating his lies, this has been the only reply by the make-believe mayor: Making an issue of the use of screen names on this website -- which he neither owns nor manages. The website's own use policy does not prohibit screen names -- but, notably, states that users agree not to post false comments.

So, not only is the make-believe mayor trying to enforce rules for the website that don't exist, he is repeatedly violating the very first rule that does exist for its use.

I agree with Scal, this is the very definition of "fraud."

Friday, May 18
WwkVoter

I think Corrente is "touched" and needs help. If his annoying presence serves in any way, it is to help us appreciate a REAL Mayor, in this case, MAYOR Joe Solomon!

Friday, May 18
FASTFREDWARD4

Lets not forget 1 thing. Acting Mayor SOLOMON , Not mayor SOLOMON. Thank you.

Saturday, May 19