EAST PROVIDENCE — On Saturday, Aug. 26, Ward 3 Councilman Joe Botelho issued the following press release on the matter of the “secret recordings” made of Council President and Mayor Jim Briden, which were released as two separate YouTube postings Thursday, Aug. 24…
“A treason against the taxpayers,” is what Mr. Botelho is calling the latest events surrounding the recent release of secret recordings of Mr. Briden which appeared all over the internet on Thursday.
“It’s obvious the Mayor was having a conversation with another council member and didn’t know he was being secretly recorded,” Mr. Botelho said. “You can tell the recording was edited and was meant to cast the Mayor in the worst possible light.”
Noting the content of the recording, Mr. Botelho went on to say, “that the release of this recording on the eve of the council voting on the teachers’ contract is deeply disturbing. It indicates there may have been an orchestrated attempt to influence the council’s vote through intimidation. That means a member of the council is secretly recording conversations and meetings, and colluding with special interests to influence votes, which in my mind, amounts to a treason against the taxpayers. This may call the validity of the contract into question.”
Mr. Botelho says that until the member of the council who is secretly recording meetings and conversations is uncovered, and removed or resigns, a moratorium should be placed on all city council executive session meetings, including claims, litigation and contract negotiations.
“At this point we have to wonder if what is being discussed in executive session is being secretly recorded and finding its way across the table, or will be released all over the internet. Until the offending member is discovered and removed, I have no confidence in the process.”
Mr. Botelho said he will pursue options of investigation of this matter with the City Manager and City Solicitor. “ Every contract the city has with its employees expire on November 1st, which is unprecedented, and until we resolve this matter, the integrity of the city council is in question whenever we vote on any of them.”