Councilwoman resigns suddenly

Councilwoman Aniece Germain vacates Ward 2 City Council seat amid questions surrounding conduct of charitable organization, says political maneuvering is really to blame

Posted 4/17/24

Editor’s note: On the morning of publication of this paper, evidence was brought to light of potential misconduct by Hope and Change for Haiti, which lost its 501-C3 status in 2022. The …

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Councilwoman resigns suddenly

Councilwoman Aniece Germain vacates Ward 2 City Council seat amid questions surrounding conduct of charitable organization, says political maneuvering is really to blame


Editor’s note: On the morning of publication of this paper, evidence was brought to light of potential misconduct by Hope and Change for Haiti, which lost its 501-C3 status in 2022. The organization, of which Aniece Germain is assistant executive director, still lists itself as a 501-C3 and still has an active donation link on its website. More will be reported on this subject in upcoming weeks.

Cranston’s City Council faces its third council member resignation in just the last four years. City Councilwoman for Ward 2, Aniece Germain, announced on Friday that she’s resigning from the city council.

“I am regretfully tendering my resignation to the President of Cranston City Council effective immediately,” Germain said in a statement. “It has become clear that the ongoing power dynamics at play in Cranston politics and recent challenges for our organization Hope and Change for Haiti prevent me from continuing in my role on the Council. It is important to me that I prioritize the wellbeing of our organization and protect my family from political maneuvering during this difficult period.”

Several Cranston elected officials gave statements upon hearing this announcement by Germain.

“This is deeply troubling to me. Councilwoman Germain's passion, dignity, and conviction have left an indelible mark on our city,” City Council Minority Leader Nicole Renzulli wrote on Facebook. “And she has certainly left her mark on me, as a colleague with very different views, turned good friend. Aniece is a strong woman who will persevere.”

“Councilwoman Aniece Germain has been a tremendous asset to her community, the Cranston City Council, the Democratic Party, and to the City of Cranston as a whole,” David Alden Sears, chairman of the Young Democrats of Cranston said. “Her every thought and every action is driven by her love and passion for people, and her fierce advocacy has brought several issues to the forefront such as repairing and restoring the Budlong Pool, ending the unjust overnight parking ban in the city, and improving the quality of life for all residents in the city. Her presence will be greatly missed on the Council, but we are full of hope knowing that her advocacy will continue on.”

Candidate for mayor and current Citywide Councilman Robert Ferri shared a similar sentiment, saying on Facebook, “I am sorry to hear that Cranston Councilwoman Aniece Germain has resigned. I have always respected the hard work and determination she has displayed with her council responsibilities, and her tenacity in elevating issues of importance to her community.”

“Councilwoman Germain and I could always agree on one thing- we both feel that the City of Cranston can do a better job serving its residents,” added Ferri.

City Council Vice President Lammis Vargas said on X, formerly known as Twitter, “I would like to thank Councilwoman Aniece Germain @AnieceG for her public service, her advocacy for equity throughout Cranston, and her voice for Ward 2 constituents. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

Mayor Ken Hopkins said when asked his reaction to Germain’s resignation that she “is a good lady,” adding, “I consider her to be a hard worker on the city council. I keep her and her family in my thoughts and prayers every day.”

Germain explains in the statement that her organization, Hope and Change for Haiti, was facing “some challenges due to a consequential filing error.”

“As one of the Board of Directors of the organization, I share in the responsibility of solving this issue,” Germain added. “An administrative error does not devalue the important work that we are doing to help the Haitian community in Rhode Island.”

The “ongoing power dynamics” characterization by Germain also goes a bit deeper than just what caused this resignation. Germain also used this description when describing behind-the-scenes developments to the Herald in an interview Friday regarding this year’s Ward 2’s Democratic primary.

Currently, Ward 2’s School Committee member, Kristen Haroian, is planning to run for the seat. Before this was the case, Jesse Dooley, who is secretary for the Ward 2 Committee on the Democratic side and is now running for a citywide council seat, was considering a Ward 2 run.

“After hearing significant dissatisfaction with Councilor Germain’s performance on the council over the last two years, I was considering running for the Ward 2 Council seat,” Dooley told the Herald Sunday. “Public service is very important to me, and I believe in representative democracy. With the level of dissatisfaction with the Ward 2 Councilor I had heard voiced by neighbors, city employees, local democrats, unaffiliated, and republican voters, I felt it was my duty to run.”

Dooley, who said he has “considered Aniece and her husband friends for many years now,” contacted Germain via text message on January 11, 2024 about his plans to run for Ward 2 before announcing it publicly. During this time, Germain said she was hospitalized at Kent Hospital, which is mentioned in the messages.

In the January 11 text message thread between Dooley and Germain, of which both Dooley and Germain provided screenshots, Dooley asks the councilwoman if she is seeking reelection.

“It’s about the upcoming election cycle,” Dooley wrote. “I didn’t know where your head is at. I’m considering running. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time. But we can talk more when you’re out of the hospital. I wanted you to hear it from me rather than through the grapevine.”

Germain responded with, “I heard that many people plan to primary me in this coming election. Are you primary me too?”

Dooley texted back, “That’s what I wanted to talk with you about,” and Germain answered, “I appreciate that you reached out. I am running for re-election.”

In response to that text from Germain, Dooley then wrote, “I want to run. And it has nothing to do with anything negative about you from my end. I’ve always felt like we’ve - your husband and you and I - have had a good relationship. I want to see if I can do it. If you win, I’ll support you, obviously. I wanted to know if you’d do the same. Let’s see what the voters decide in the primary. I refuse to get into a smear campaign. Just healthy democratic process.”

Germain says after this text exchange with Dooley, she told Haroian, and that Haroian responded that she couldn’t do anything about it. Germain also said that around this part of the timeline, she then tells Haroian, who was originally planning to run for a citywide seat, to run against Dooley in a primary for Ward 2, and then she would not seek reelection.

“I said Kristy, if you want this seat because what Jesse did to me is so despicable, I will not support Jesse,” Germain said when explaining what she told Haroian. “And I don’t want to go and primary with Jesse. I rather not [run]. Between you and me, if you want to run, when the time comes, you can declare your candidacy. We’re still early in the process.”

Haroian was asked about her account of these events.

“She called me and she said she was very angry about Jesse primarying her and she said ‘Will you run for Ward 2?’ and I said ‘I’ve kind of planned my whole life around citywide’ and I said ‘I need a few weeks,’” Haroian said. “I think she was using me as a tool [because] she thought I would run against Jesse.”

Haroian and Dooley then had a meeting afterward, which resulted in a shift of who was running for which seat.

“Before I could announce my intentions to run publicly, Councilwoman Germain contacted our ward chair and said she wouldn’t run if the ward chair ran and got me not to run,” Dooley said. “After a lengthy discussion, the ward chair and I agreed that she would run for the ward seat and I would run citywide.”

Germain, on February 5, posted on Facebook about what was going on and the challenges she was facing. On February 7, in a comment under that initial post, she said in part, “This week I realized there is a much more conspiracy to get me out of the way. I am naive in politics. I trust people. I said what I think and I am not afraid of challenges but I am disgusted about how people put their individual interests before people. I am disappointed because this came from people I wouldn’t expected.”

Dooley then texted Germain on February 8, 2024.

“You are so unbelievably wrong,” Dooley wrote. “I’m very disappointed in you. But I’m not going to say anymore. I’m sorry about your mother-in-law. I’ve always had your back. You lost the party’s back. I was asked to primary you. I have nothing against you. Don’t blame me. Blame yourself. Btw, I’m not primarying you. You can keep your seat. I will never support you again, however. You’ve made this personal. You don’t deserve your seat. It’s not your seat. It’s the city’s seat.”

In response to Germain’s allegations of a conspiracy and power dynamic to oust her out of this seat via a primary, Haroian said, “It’s hard to comprehend the way she thinks. You never know what she’s going to be mad about. I don’t understand where she’s coming from.”

As for what Haroian plans to focus on during her campaign, she said, “Quality of life is most important to me. Issues like neighborhood cleanliness/litter control, improved response to rodent issues, and upgrading our parks and recreation facilities will be at the top of my priorities, along with high-quality education and strong public safety.”

She also listed “affordability of housing and living” and preventing further increases in taxes as other issues she’s going to focus on.

Haroian recently held a fundraiser at PJ’s Pub, raising north of $10,000. Haroain, who’s also a special assistant to the chief of staff at the State House, has House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi’s support.

“I was proud to attend the fund-raiser in support of Kristen Haroian, who has been a long-time friend and a loyal and dedicated worker at the State House for many years,” Shekarchi said. “I support her publicly -- she is an excellent member of the School Committee and will be an even better member of the City Council.”

According to Cranston Republican City Committee Chairman John Colasante, the GOP city committee is in talks with a candidate about running for this Ward.

Before her resignation, Germain said that she met with Maria Bucci, chair of the Cranston Democratic City Committee, and Council President Jessica Marino.

Germain said on Friday that during this meeting with Bucci and Marino, which occurred after her initial interview with the Herald, they gave her “an ultimatum” to resign, or these challenges facing her organization would be made public.

On Sunday, Germain further elaborated on this meeting.

“Jessica said if I don’t resign she will hold public hearings to humiliate me and my children,” Germain said via text. “I am not guilty of anything nor I am convicted of anything. As soon as we [realized] there [was] an issue with the filing of the [organization’s] taxes, we suspended all fundraising activities. I could resist her threats and let her bring the hearings but I don’t think my family, mostly my small children, can bear it to see my name being tarnished. I decided to resign not because I am afraid but just to protect my family. I am disappointed and angry.”

Marino sent out a statement on Monday regarding Germain’s resignation.

“Allegations of impropriety associated with Councilwoman Germain‘s role as Executive Director with Hope and Change for Haiti came to my attention and were immediately addressed with Councilwoman Germain who in turn rendered her resignation from city council,” Marino said. “Her presence on council will be missed and I thank her for her public service. I sincerely wish her well as she prioritizes resolving her organization’s issues.”

Bucci also responded to requests for comment on Monday, saying, “Jessica and I met with Councilwoman Aniece Germain to discuss issues we were notified of regarding her organization, Hope and Change for Haiti.”

As for what the issues facing Hope and Change for Haiti were that triggered this meeting, Bucci said, “Any questions about those issues should be directed to Aniece and the directors of the organization. As you know, she has since resigned.”

“We respect her decision to step down to tend to this matter,” Bucci continued. “Aniece represented the residents of ward 2 and Cranston well during her time on the city council. We thank her for her public service. The Cranston Democratic city Committee is currently interviewing potential candidates and has not yet finalized the 2024 Democratic slate. Any speculation about candidates at this point is merely speculation.”

councilwoman, resignation


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