Who will the next council president be?
At the moment, that question is still up in the air, as a handful of council members are remaining tight-lipped about the issue. The current council president is Bruce Place, who did not seek re-election.
While rumors have swirled that Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon, Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis and soon-to-be Ward 8 Councilman Joseph Gallucci, all Democrats, are interested in the position, Travis and Gallucci failed to return phone calls to a Warwick Beacon reporter who left voice messages inquiring about their thoughts.
Solomon confirmed during a brief phone interview yesterday afternoon that he doesn’t desire the position, as he served as council president for three terms in the past. However, he said he thinks there are a few qualified candidates on the council, including Ed Ladouceur, who just won the seat for Ward 5.
Solomon also views Ward 9 Councilman Steve Merolla and Ward 7 Councilman Charles “C.J.” Donovan, who has expressed that he would like to serve as the next council president, as qualified.
“He’s done a lot of good things for the city,” Solomon said of Donovan. “There are a number of qualified individuals that would do a great job, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who the candidates are.”
During a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, Donovan said he is actively pursuing the position and has extended calls to each of the members, including Gallucci, Ladouceur and Tom Chadronet, who won the seat for Ward 2. Donovan said the only council member he did not contact was Ward 1 Councilman Steve Colantuono, as his opponent, Sharon Ahearn, recently requested a recount.
“I let them know that I am an option for council presidency,” Donovan said. “Should they see fit that they are entertaining that as an option, my door is always open.”
Donovan said he feels he would be a good fit for the role. He thinks he would bring experience, a good temperament, the ability to work across all parties regardless of political partisanship, plus the ability to work well with the council and the administration to focus on the needs of the city.
“We have an important two years ahead of us, and I’d like to hit the ground running on a lot of important issues,” said Donovan. “I would be honored if they trusted me with the council presidency role.”
He also said that no one has contacted him are requesting his support as council president.
“I have not heard from any members of the City Council asking for my support,” Donovan said. “We’ll see what happens.”
To gain the position, a council member must receive five votes. They are able to vote for themselves. If he doesn’t win, said Donovan, there is a silver lining.
“If nothing else, it’s a good opportunity to open up the lines of communication among all members, so at least we have a good group of people moving in the same direction making sure we take care of city business,” he said. “It’s a good thing.”