No-show mayor?

Fenton-Fung claims opponent Hopkins only works part-time

Posted 5/22/24

Rule number one, on the job: show up. Rule number two: get the job done.

The current mayor of Cranston has been accused of breaking both rules by a fellow Republican who’s running for his …

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No-show mayor?

Fenton-Fung claims opponent Hopkins only works part-time


Rule number one, on the job: show up. Rule number two: get the job done.

The current mayor of Cranston has been accused of breaking both rules by a fellow Republican who’s running for his office, and whose husband held the job first.

And who is Ruben Ramirez?

The Allegations

“Imagine getting paid 100% of your $105,000 salary, but either being on vacation or having absolutely nothing on your calendar nearly 40% of the time!” Claims a press release from the mayoral campaign of Republican state Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung. “Who wouldn’t want that job? Welcome to the world of Ken Hopkins as mayor.”

The Fenton-Fung campaign claims to have submitted public record requests, which once received, prove current Cranston Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins has been falling short of his mayoral responsibilities.

“As a result of a deep analysis of the mayor’s calendars from December 2021 – January 2024, obtained through an APRA request, we see with our own eyes what workers at City Hall have been complaining about for three years — he treats the mayoralty like a no-show job,” according to the Fenton-Fung campaign. “He is either on vacation, observing a holiday, or has one event or less on the calendar an average of (61%) of the time each month. That is absolutely absurd for a full-time mayor!”

On Tuesday morning, Hopkins provided a response to Fenton-Fung’s attacks (which were accompanied by a highly produced campaign video posted on YouTube). His campaign referred to “the cartoon candidacy” of Fenton-Fung, “who has taken to desperate looking videos to attack the incumbent mayor.”

No Real Platform?

Mrs. Fenton-Fung doesn’t have a real platform to run on to be Cranston’s chief executive, so she resorts to cheap videos questioning my Republican credentials and my work habits,” Hopkins said in the statement provided by his campaign.

Hopkins added that “the people of Cranston know I have been working hard for the last three and half years and getting solid results for taxpayers and cleaning up the fiscal mess left by her husband. The real question is, where has she been, because she has been missing in action at the State House on doing anything positive for Cranston.”

According to the Fenton-Fung campaign, their analysis of public records “was incredibly generous to (Hopkins).”

“Some of those days with only one event on them include rounds of golf (including his family’s golf tournament), wakes or funerals, attending a fundraiser for the mayor of Central Falls, a business ribbon cutting that he blew off, and a nighttime ‘wine making meeting,’” according to the Fenton-Fung campaign. “One day, he even sets aside time to watch a daytime PC (Providence College) game in the office.”

Hopkins contends the public documents don’t provide the entire story.

“My calendar does not always list every appointment, conference or meeting I have,” Hopkins argues. “Being mayor is a 24/7 job and the Cranston residents see me around the community at events, job sites and inspecting projects. They appreciate the efforts of my administration to every day deliver results for fiscal responsibility, safe neighborhoods, good schools and preserving our special quality of life.”

Charter Ignored?

Fenton-Fung also accused Hopkins of potentially ignoring the City Charter last summer when he took a “14-day vacation” spanning July and August.

“Per section 5.07 of the Cranston City Charter: ‘If in the case of such temporary absence or disability on the part of the mayor no such designation has been made, or if the period of absence or disability exceeds ten days, the duties of the mayor shall be performed by the president of the council or in the event of the president’s absence or disability by the vice-president,’” According to Fenton-Fung’s campaign.

Fenton-Fung’s husband, Allan Fung, has been focusing on his private practice since he left office (Hopkins succeeded Fung). Fung has been working for Democratic Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Jr. in neighboring Johnston as legal counsel for the Johnston Town Charter Commission and in potential auditing and litigation (by Polisena’s office) of the Johnston School Department.

“Being Mayor, especially of a large urban-core city, is a 24 hour a day / seven days a week level job,” Fenton-Fung’s campaign argues. “The people of Cranston expect a dynamic and energetic leader — not one who misses heritage celebrations and flag raisings, blows off the ribbon cuttings for small businesses, and even takes a day off on the day prior to the budget being due (one which included a tax increase).”

“If he doesn’t have the energy or stamina to even make it through a workday, it’s time to hand over the reins to a new generation who can tackle the bigger issues with gusto,” Fenton-Fung said in the press release.

Her campaign provided the results of public records requests.

“Of note, calendars were obtained from May 2021 forward, but almost nothing appears on the calendars until December of 2021,” according to the Fenton-Fung campaign. “We have almost no insight into his official acts during the nearly entire first year of his term. February of 2022 was his ‘least strenuous’ month, having one event or less on the calendar a remarkable 86% of the time. June of 2022 was his ‘busiest’ month, having one event or less on the calendar 40% of the time.”

Who is Ruben Ramirez?

Hopkins said he’ll have more to say about his “opponent’s tactics of submitting anonymous open records requests, but as it relates to his daily calendars the media should ask Mrs. Fenton-Fung if she knows Ruben Ramirez.”

According to Hopkins’s campaign, someone used the name “Ruben Ramirez.”

On Dec. 1, 2023, a “Ruben Ramirez” sent an email request for “records relating to the Mayor’s daily calendar and the Director Administration’s daily calendar from May 2021 to the current,” according to Hopkins’s campaign. “He used the email address of No address or telephone number was provided.”

At first, the mayor’s office told the records requester that “nearly three years of his daily schedule was extensive and needed to be reviewed and redacted for non-public information and personal references like medical appointments.”

The requester, Ramirez, used an email address alias calling himself “therealrubenramirez.”

According to Hopkins, “the real Ruben Ramirez” was advised of a $270 retrieval and copying charge following the public records request. On Jan. 9, the City Hall Law Department received a bank check for that amount, from the Santander Bank on Atwood Avenue, by certified mail.

Hopkins’s campaign claims “Ruben Ramirez is a fictitious name used by the Fungs for APRA and other record requests.”

“Even though allowed by law, why is she going to such secret attempts to obtain records?” Hopkins asked. “Voters hate such political hijinks and dirty tricks. My opponent has no problem with her husband taking a paycheck from Cranston taxpayers while spending four years outside the city campaigning for governor.”

The Cranston Herald reached out to the Fenton-Fung campaign Tuesday morning, asking for more details regarding the identity of “Ruben Ramirez.” A response was not received by press time.

Democratic candidate for mayor, City Councilman Robert Ferri, declined comment on the dust-up between his Republican opponents.

mayor, Fenton-Fung, Hopkins


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