Letter to Richmond Town Council - October 18th 2021
Letter to Richmond Town Council
October 18th 2021
Dear Members of the Richmond Town Council,
The Beaver River Valley Community Association was founded to protect and preserve our community, our quality of life, our historic, and cultural resources, and our town’s rural character. Further, our goal is to support our town’s leaders, as their leadership should uphold the town’s charter, ordinances and comprehensive land use plan and, in turn, support our mission.
Our Association’s Board of Trustees is concerned that Town Council President Nell Carpenter is once again questioning the continued tenure of Town Solicitor Karen Ellsworth for reasons that have nothing to do with Ellsworth’s job performance.
Apparently at Carpenter’s request, a proposal to advertise for Ellsworth’s position has been added to the agenda of the Oct. 19council meeting. The agenda item reads: “Council consideration to advertise for applicants for appointment as solicitor to the Richmond Town Council and the Richmond Planning Board.”
Ellsworth has quietly and competently served the town since her appointment in 2005, however, since Carpenter became council President, Ellsworth, whose current term ends in February, 2022, has had to defend herself on several occasions. As an example, at the Aug. 17 council meeting, council members spent more than an hour discussing nebulous complaints, made by Carpenter, about Ellsworth’s job performance. At that time, Carpenter indicated that she took issue with learning about complaints regarding possible violations by the council of the Open Meetings Act from a BRVCA news article, rather than from Ellsworth herself.
But it is also possible that the real issue could be Ellsworth’s response to the Attorney General regarding an Open Meetings Act complaint, in which, rather than defending the actions of the council, Ellsworth wrote that she believed that poor audio quality during hybrid meetings had indeed constituted a violation of the Open Meetings Act. In a decision issued just this past week, the Rhode Island Attorney General's Open Government division agreed that there had been an OMA violation.
Correctly, the council did not take action at the Aug. 17 meeting, and now, Carpenter is raising the issue again by proposing that the town seek applicants for Ellsworth’s position.
We at the BRVCA wonder what provoked the council President’s ire this time. Maybe it goes all the way back to Ellsworth’s frank comments regarding the council’s misguided appointment, in Dec. 2020, of developer William McIntosh to the Richmond Planning Board at the same time that his appeal of a Planning Board decision was pending before the state Housing Appeals Board. Whatever her reasons, Carpenter seems to be engaging in what has become a personal vendetta against Ellsworth, whose job performance has been consistently above reproach.
We are growing weary of these distractions and would like to see the council get back to focusing on the town’s legitimate business. It is time for the Carpenter-inspired theatrics to end.
We believe that if we at the BRVCA are going to maintain our preservation-based focus on quality of life issues in Richmond, Karen Ellsworth is a critical resource and a valuable ally.
BRVCA Board of Trustees
Walter Prescott – President
David Russo – Vice President
John Peixinho – Treasurer
Kim Robertson – Secretary
P.O. Box 10
Shannock, RI 02875
Dear Friends of the Beaver River Valley Community Association and concerned Richmond Residents, Please attend the Town Council meeting tomorrow TUESDAY OCTOBER 19th 2021 at 6:00pm either in person or by ZOOM at the link below.
If you are unable to attend, please stay tuned for updates. Thank you all for your continued support and concern for our community.