EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence City Council held a rare special session on an even rarer Sunday evening, Dec. 3, with the express reason to conduct a job performance review of City Manager Tim Chapman, a meeting that lasted nearly four hours but came to no resolution.
At issue, among others, according to sources is Mr. Chapman’s actions regarding the potential settlement of a lawsuit between city-side Human Resources Director Kathleen Waterbury and the city.
As is his right per City Charter, Mr. Chapman Sunday took the option of holding his review in private during executive session. He, the four councilors in attendance and City Solicitor Greg Dias then spent the next three hours and 15 minutes behind close doors discussing what Ward 3 Councilor Joe Botelho said, when the body reconvened in public, as several “festering” issues pertaining to Mr. Chapman’s performance in his 15 months as manager.
The public portion of the meeting began earlier Sunday, at 7 p.m., with Council president and At-Large member Jim Briden asking who among his peers called for the meeting and also questioning the urgency of having the session on a Sunday and without one member, Ward 1 Council Bobby Britto, who was absent from the proceedings due to prior commitments.
Mr. Botelho acknowledged he was one of the members who requested the meeting, adding to Mr. Briden directly, “It’s been quite obvious over the last year what you might not consider an emergency, some of us do.”
He, Ward 4 Councilor Brian Faria and Ward 2 Councilor Anna Sousa each chastised Mr. Briden, saying he had previously ignored attempts to set up meetings, a charge he denied, and that they had held several gatherings outside of their normal schedule. Mr. Faria also charged Mr. Briden did not raise any concerns when informed of the meeting Friday, Dec. 1, again the latter saying that was not correct.
When the body returned to open session at approximately 10:30 p.m., Mr. Dias reported out no votes were taken during the private portion of the meeting. It was further stated by Mr. Faria the council would likely take up the the review of Mr. Chapman again during its first scheduled meeting of the new year on January 3.
“I think that it’s important to the council to discuss issues sooner rather than later,” Mr. Botelho added, saying lack of communication has caused confusion and unnecessary conflict in the past. “This evening we had a chance to more or less discuss a number of issues with the city manager. I think it was a very good discussion. I think the council has agreed to continue the meeting for a month and we’ll see how things proceed.”
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