October 24, 2014
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Recount validates Colantuono's win; councilman explains vote on benefits
Jessica Botelho
SWEET VICTORY: Alberto Aponte Cardona, friend of Colantuono, attended the recount on behalf of Colantuono. He called the councilman to inform him of the good news and congratulated him.

"Congratulations, Councilman,” Alberto Aponte Cardona said via cell phone to Republican Ward 1 Councilman Steven Colantuono just moments after the results of the recount came thorough at the Rhode Island Board of Elections in Providence Friday, revealing that Colantuono’s win for the Ward 1 seat was correct.

While the results from the General Election listed him as the winner by 19 votes over Democratic candidate Sharon Ahearn, the recount proved he won by 20 votes.

Aponte Cardona, a local attorney, David Dolbashian, another local lawyer, and Ward 1 resident Michael Mullane attended the recount on behalf of Colantuono. Ahearn represented herself.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Ahearn said after hearing the news. “Good luck to Steve.” Ahearn also said that she’s not finished with city politics and plans to run again in the future. “You haven’t heard the last of me.”

For Colantuono, he is happy the issue is resolved. He is looking forward to continuing his stint on the council, which he began nearly four years ago.

“I never took anything for granted,” Colantuono said of the election. “I always think that there are factors that you can’t predict, can’t control and don’t know about. There were many factors at play in this election and I had to work as hard as I had to work to come out ahead of the count.”

Possible factors include three flyers that residents of Ward 1 created and distributed throughout the ward before the election.

Former Councilman Bob Cushman, who along with about a dozen other Ward 1 residents, crafted and passed out approximately 3,000 flyers alleging that Colantuono voted in favor of legislation to gain lifetime health care.

Colantuono said that is not the case, and that Cushman is “consistently inaccurate” with the information he puts forward.

“It couldn’t be anymore further from the truth,” Colantuono said. “Number one, I would never think to do that; number two, I cannot do that. It’s interesting to see someone come out and say these kinds of things. They gather some momentum and credence even though they are factually incorrect and misleading. It’s disheartening to see it garner as much interest in the newspaper as it has.”

He continued, saying that during the campaign season he approached Cushman as he passed out the flyers and questioned his motives. He asked Cushman why he desired to discredit him.

“He said, ‘I’m doing it to beat you,’ and I said, ‘You could have run against me to beat me, but you don’t want to do that for some reason,’” Colantuono said. “It really has nothing to do with what I’m doing or with what I’ve done. It’s his own anger and inability to move forward. That seems to be his issue. He can deny or make whatever comments that he wants that it’s not about that, but that’s what he told me.”

Colantuono also said, “I’m not going to say it’s not on purpose – he used his information to mislead people and he knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Further, Colantuono said the other two flyers, which accused him of introducing legislation to increase the car tax exemptions from $6,000 to $500, and alleged that he did nothing to protect his constituents from sewer tax increases, are also bogus and misleading.

Colantuono explained that each year he and Ward 8 Councilman Ray Gallucci introduce the legislation as part of Mayor Scott Avedisian’s budget to the rest of the council and the general public. He and Gallucci, said Colantuono, simply place it on the docket.

“It’s my job to docket that legislation,” Colantuono said. “I guess what Mr. Cushman is, in turn, saying is, ‘We shouldn’t docket anything to put before the public and let the public speak on it.’ I docket it so it comes before us so the council can consider it and the general public can consider it and speak on it. Then, we all have an opportunity to amend it and vote on it.”

He went on to say that it’s incorrect for Cushman to say that

he votes on the mayor’s budget. Rather, he said, he voted for the council’s amended budget.

“All the people who voted against the amended budget actually voted for the mayor’s budget,” Colantuono said. “If the amended budget doesn’t pass, you get the budget that the mayor proposed.”

But Cushman said Colantuono is the one being misleading. He said that Colantuono participated in the vote to remove language from legislation that Cushman originally drafted in 2007 that would have prohibited lifetime health care or supplemental health coverage to any current or future city or school employee upon retirement.

The original language read: “Non-union employees who enter service with the city on or after January 1, 2009… shall not be entitled to receive health and/or dental insurance at any time following their retirement, resignation or other severance of service with the city,” while the amended language read: “Non-union employees who enter service with the city on or after passage of this ordinance…”

The language was removed with nine yes votes from the council. The final vote for first passage after the amendment was 7-2, with Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon and Ward 7 Councilman Charles “C.J.” Donovan voting in opposition.

“He voted to amend that language to take the dates out,” said Cushman. “If they left that language in there, he would not be eligible for lifetime health care. Once he fulfills this term, he will get lifetime health care. It appears that based on city documents that he is not telling the truth. For him to say he never participated in the vote is not true and he knows it. The evidence is pretty clear. Just look at the documents.”

To access the documents on the city website, visit WarwickRI.gov and click “City Government,” followed by “Official Documents,” then “Council Meeting Minutes,” and “Warwick City Council Minutes 2009,” and finally, “January 21, 2009,” which is listed under “Regular Public Hearing Meetings.”

This leads to a PDF file of the council meeting agenda and a list of whether legislation was approved or denied, and which council members favored or opposed the legislation. Under “Unfinished Business,” the legislation in question is listed as number six.

For Colantuono, he said he was just interested in moving forward and focusing on issues that are important to his constituents.

“I’m trying not to get myself involved in a war of negativism,” he said. “People saying they are trying to get information before the public are not getting information before the public – they are misinforming the public and I’m just trying to make sure I’m doing the job that people have elected me to do in a sensible and reasonable way.”


Comments
12 comments on this item

Ok so let's see who is telling the truth.....

I just loaded the Council meeting minutes as instructed in the article.

The first page shows Councilman Colantuono was at the meeting:

The City of Warwick

Docket of the City Council

Regular Public Hearing Meeting For January 21, 2009 @ Council Chambers, Warwick City Hall

3275 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886 @ 7:00 P.M.

Bruce S. Place, President Presiding

Roll Call Time:7:03 p.m.

Steven Colantuono, Bruce S. Place, Helen S. Taylor, Joseph J. Solomon, John Delgiudice, Donna M. Travis, Charles J. Donovan, Jr.,

Raymond E. Gallucci, Steve Merolla

Searching for Unfinished business - item #6 ---- here it is.....

6. PCO-22-07 - An Ordinance prohibiting lifetime health care or supplemental health coverage to any current or future city or school employee upon their retirement.

Here is the part to amend the language -----

# 1 – Move to amend: Merolla

Seconded by: Taylor

Vote: 9 yes -

This means wll members voted to amend the language taking out the date.

And the final vote -----

Move as amended: Merolla

Seconded by: DelGiudice

Vote: 7 yes, 2 no (Donovan, Solomon)

THE VERDICT

Cushman is right Councilman Steve Coluantuono is not telling the truth!!! The fact speak for themself!

Here is Colantuono quote, I just had to put it down here after reading it again. I am amazed the brazeness of him:

[Colantuono said that is not the case, and that Cushman is “consistently inaccurate” with the information he puts forward.

“It couldn’t be anymore further from the truth,” Colantuono said. “Number one, I would never think to do that; number two, I cannot do that. It’s interesting to see someone come out and say these kinds of things. They gather some momentum and credence even though they are factually incorrect and misleading.” ]

How can this guy say that with a straight face?

Maybe someone should look up in the minutes how he voted on the car tax issue to see if he is not telling the truth on that one too.

Hey Colantuono are you going to run for Congress in the next election? You have the number one quality down pact as the current congressman does - THE

Here is Colantuono quote, I just had to put it down here after reading it again. I am amazed the brazeness of him:

[Colantuono said that is not the case, and that Cushman is “consistently inaccurate” with the information he puts forward.

“It couldn’t be anymore further from the truth,” Colantuono said. “Number one, I would never think to do that; number two, I cannot do that. It’s interesting to see someone come out and say these kinds of things. They gather some momentum and credence even though they are factually incorrect and misleading.” ]

How can this guy say that with a straight face?

Maybe someone should look up in the minutes how he voted on the car tax issue to see if he is not telling the truth on that one too.

Hey Colantuono are you going to run for Congress in the next election? You have the number one quality down pact as the current congressman does - THE

THE ABILITY TO LIE!

HE STILL WON THANK YOU

Give it up, Bob. Just give it up. It's over. Let go......

Just the facts as itemized in the ethics complaint. COLANTUONO IS A BOLD FACE LIAR

The purpose of this complaint is to request that the Rhode Island State Ethics Commission investigate the actions taken by Warwick City Council members regarding legislation titled PCO-22-07.

Background History of the Ordinance

Ward 1 City Councilman Robert Cushman docketed this legislation which was titled PCO-22-07, for the May 14, 2007 Warwick City Council meeting.

The purpose of the legislation was to eliminate lifetime heath care benefits. ( PCO-22-07 ) – An Ordinance prohibiting lifetime health care or supplemental health coverage to any current or future city or school employee upon their retirement. New members to the Warwick City Council would also be denied this benefit.

This drafted legislation was heard in council chambers on or about Nov. 17, 2008. It is important to note that the legislation indicated an effective date of Jan.1 2009. (EXHIBIT 1)

Prior to the Nov. 17th council meeting, the general election was held for the Ward 1 council seat and Mr. Steven Colantuono defeated Mr.Cushman. It is important to note that Mr. Colantuono’s term was to begin on or about Jan. 2009.

During the ordinance committee meeting pertaining to the legislation and language introduced by Councilman Mr. Cushman, Councilman Delguidice requested a fiscal note. (11/17/2008) See meeting minutes. (EXHIBIT 2)

Note: A fiscal note, per rules of the council, is used to allow time for a study on any legislation, policy, or contract that will incur costs to the city, and or to the taxpayer. This parliamentary procedure was not applicable at the time due to the fact that the above noted legislation was a cost savings measure and did not incur costs to the city, but in fact saved the city and the taxpayer’s considerable financial obligations. (See EXHIBIT 3) pdf

It is the opinion of the complainants’ that the bogus parliamentary procedure “Fiscal Note”, requested by Councilman Delguidice, purposely delayed the legislation from being heard, and was implemented for the sole purpose of allowing Mr. Colantuono to have an opportunity to be sworn into office, and to be able to cast a vote to amend the legislation. More importantly, the delay allowed Mr. Colantuono to vote to remove the January 1, 2009 retroactive date. This vote by Mr. Colantuono personally benefited him and his family since he was now eligible for a lifetime health care benefit.

The complainants argue that this action is in direct conflict with R.I. Gen Laws 36-14-5, Prohibited Activities Paragraph (a).

It is important to note that at the end of Councilman Cushman’s term, (expiration Dec. 2008), Councilman Merolla continued to sponsor the legislation in its original drafted language which was initially brought forth by Mr. Cushman. (See EXHIBIT 4)

On Jan. 21. 2009 the legislation sponsored by Merolla was held before the council occupied by now, by the new Ward 1 Councilman, Mr. Colantuono.

During this meeting the legislation was amended to remove the retroactive date of Jan 1, 2009 and replaced with language without a retroactive date and to take effect upon passage. Due to this language change in the amendment, the lifetime heath care benefit would remain open, to benefit Councilman Colantuono and his family, and only Councilman Colantuono and his family. The result of this amendment was passed unanimously by the Warwick City Council, but more importantly, during this debate, Councilman Colantuono was allowed to argue during the debate on an issue that would effect Councilman Colantuono and his family, and only Councilman Colantuono and his family, and also allowed to vote on legislation and language which effected Councilman Colantuono and his family, and only Councilman Colantuono and his family. (See EXHIBIT 5 Meeting minutes, and EXIBIT 6 for amended legislation)

In effect, it is the opinion of the complainants, that because of the time line of events, and that the above noted legislation would effect Councilman Colantuano and only Councilman Colantuano in the future, that Councilman Colantuano had the inherent duty and responsibility to recues himself from not only the continued hearings on the ordinance, but more importantly, to recues himself from voting on any part or any portion of the ordinance. (See RI Code of Ethics RI Gen Laws 36-14-5 paragraph a, c, g, i, and also Regulation 36-14-5004 Prohibited Activities, Section 3a).

As a result of the above noted ordinance being heard by the City Council which affected Councilman Colantuano, and only Councilman Colantuano, it is the opinion of the complainants that not only did Councilman Colantuano participate knowingly in these activities, which that action is in direct conflict with several sections and sub paragraphs of The R.I. Code of Ethics, but that several members of the Warwick City Council in fact, did in fact knowingly conspire, to allow Councilman Colantuano to participate in said voting, which in fact stood to benefit Councilman Colantuano and his family, and only, Councilman Colantuano and his family.

The complainants of these documents respectfully request that the Rhode Island Ethics Commission review the attached exhibits, examine the activities as outlined, and issue a response to this complaint.

Did anything come of the ethics complaint? Was it determined that there was a violation or was it deemed unfounded?

Thecaptain, Florida called they are low on lowlife d-bags? They are waiting for you. Oh yea I guess your moving to Florida was a BOLD FACE LIE also... Misfit...

The real issue here is whether the Councilman should receive lifetime health-care after only 6 years in office. If you think he should, simply admit it.

Does it really matter what the useless ethics commision says? Remember they allowed State Reps and Senators to vote on legislation that directly benefited them financially. (Former Senate President made hundreds of thousands of dollars in CVS scandal and was not found guilty of any ethical charges) They are a useless body.

The ethical thing for the councilman to do in this case would have been to recuse himeself from the vote. He didn't do that. I would think that most people would agree that that was not a morally correct thing to do.

One other important issue is whether the other council members conspired to hold the vote until the councilman was sworn into office to allow him to get the same lifetime healthcare benegfit they all are getting. That's immoral in book too.

Council President Bruce Place is leaving the council and the city for that matter after his 6 years - he's getting lifetime healthcare. Councilman Delguidice is leaving with lifetime healthcare after 8 years in office. The city employees should be outraged, especialy when they aren't getting a raise for the next three years.

My opinion is no elected official shoud get anything unless they put in twenty years or more....

Hey Stevie.....nice margin of victory against a nothing opponent.....candidates will be lining up to take you on LANDSLIDE....don't worry the misfits will be there with flyers letting people know how anti taxpayer you are...

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