News Digest

Posted 11/18/20

Hopkins announces members of transition organization Mayor-elect Ken Hopkins on Monday announced the members of his transition organization, and the list includes many names familiar to Cranstonians. Leading the transition's steering committee will be

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News Digest


Hopkins announces members of transition organization

Mayor-elect Ken Hopkins on Monday announced the members of his transition organization, and the list includes many names familiar to Cranstonians.

Leading the transition’s steering committee will be Anthony Moretti, a CPA who played a key role in the second-term Republican City Council member’s campaign for mayor. It will also include Earl J. Croft III, a former director of the Rhode Island Turnpike & Bridge Authority, and Michael Traficante, former mayor and current citywide member of the School Committee.

From there, the organization is divided into teams focused on specific departments.

The schools team, for example, will include Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse, former teacher Stacey Campbell and former firefighter and teacher Michael Rachiele. Hopkins, who dubbed himself the “education mayor” during the campaign, will also serve on that team.

The executive team includes Traficante and Hopkins’s son Ken Hopkins Jr., who is principal of East Greenwich High School.

The transition’s legal team includes Democratic House District 16 Rep. Christopher Millea, as well as attorney Steven A. Moretti and former Rhode Island Superior Court administrator Joseph Conley.

The finance team includes attorney and CPA John Reis and CPA Anthony Scorpio, while the public works team includes Croft, former Rhode Island Department of Transportation deputy chief engineer Frank Corrao and Timothy Sanzi, a former Rhode Island State Police major.

The team focused on public safety, Municipal Court and COVID-19 response includes former Cranston police chief Kenneth Mancuso, former East Providence fire chief Glenn Quick, attorney and former State Police captain John Lemont and Kevin Hopkins, the mayor-elect’s brother and a former State Police lieutenant.

The parks and recreation team includes Special Olympics Rhode Island CEO Dennis DeJesus, Cranston Eastern Little League treasurer Lisa Gibb and Cranston Public Schools athletic director Michael Traficante.

Daniel Parrillo, director of administration for Mayor Allan Fung, will oversee the transition’s personnel team. He will also serve on the community outreach and diversity team, which also includes attorney and Providence College professor Sean Holley, consultant Antonio Lopes and Don Roach, who ran for a citywide council seat this year.

The economic development team includes Croft, former economic and business development director Paula Kriticos and school principal Jenny Remka. The inspections team also includes Croft, along with restaurateur Charlie Chin and former building inspector Chuck Phelps.

The senior services team includes the elder Michael Traficante, DeJesus and former senior center food services director Anthony Melillo. James Dillon, a former educator and IT professional in the city’s schools, will lead the information technology team.

The canvassers team will include Lemont and former teacher and elections coordinator Liz Romero. Four people have been named to the team overseeing the city’s boards and commissions, including Mancuso, Cranston West Principal Thomas Barbieri, Miriam Torres-Thorburn and Lori DelGallo.

The inaugural team includes City Clerk Leanne Zarrella, teacher Lynn Morales, Andrea O’Hair, AnnMarie Traficante, the elder Michael Traficante and Ward 5 Councilman Chris Paplauskas.

“Mayor-Elect Hopkins seeks to gain a thorough insight of the operations, issues and personnel needs of Cranston city government,” an introductory mission statement for the transition organization reads. “As a result of this transition process, he will establish a highly competent administration that delivers effective and responsive city services that are affordable and inclusive of all the people of the City of Cranston.”

The various teams are charged with identifying the “functional strengths and challenges” of their focus areas, as well as the “key outstanding and upcoming issues and priorities,” according to the outline. Each will provide a “written executive summary assessment of organization structure, issues and key personnel.”

Donegan elected council minority leader

Ward 3 Councilman John Donegan has been chosen as the minority leader of the City Council’s four-member Democratic caucus.

“Looking forward to continuing to work together as Cranston Democrats for the future of our great city!” Ward 1 Councilwoman Lammis Vargas wrote in a tweet Sunday.

“I look forward to working together to move our city forward,” Donegan wrote in response.

Republicans will continue to hold a 5-4 edge on the council in the next term after winning three of the five contest seats in this year’s election.

The Democratic caucus also includes Jessica Marino, who won a citywide seat, and Ward 2 Councilwoman Aniece Germain, who won a full term after her appointment earlier this year. Both Donegan and Vargas were unopposed for reelection.

Lima joins push for remote Assembly meetings

Rep. Charlene Lima, a Cranston Democrat who represents District 14 in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, has announced she and a Republican colleague plan to introduce legislation allowing the General Assembly to conduct business over video conferencing platforms like Zoom.

The two lawmakers also plan to seek an advisory opinion from the state’s Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of that proposal.

“With Covid rising it is imperative that we know if the General Assembly can meet constitutionally via video conference if Covid makes in impossible to meet in person,” Lima said in a statement. “The quickest and legally sound path for this is by asking for an Advisory opinion.”

According to the statement, Lima is being joined in the effort by Republican Minority Leader Blake Filippi.

The statement reads: “Our Legislation would give the Speaker of the House the authority to call for video conferencing of the House sessions in time of emergency when meeting in person would not be possible. It would also give the same authority to the Senate President regarding the Senate.”


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