Woonsocket City Council President weighed in last night (Friday January 5) on the burgeoning Warming Center Controversy. With the Mendon Road Deal still fresh in the minds of well, everyone, Mr. Ward brought attention to the advise/consent provided, in Charter, by the Woonsocket City Council.

Of interest? Potential issues (Got Ethics?) that are still under review by the City Solicitor.

The Coalition will continue to report on this issue throughout the weekend …..

Woonsocket City Planning Commission Director Mike Debroisse sent the following email Friday January 5th …

Mayor/Solicitor/Council President/Director,

 The Department of Planning & Development in conjunction with the Mayors Office, CCA and Vida Church submitted a Winter Emergency Hub Grant Application.

 We were awarded $101,100 (thank you Alyssa McDermott).

 Our office will be submitting the needed legislation to the City Council to use these funds (greater than $100,000) for CCA and Vida Church.  However, due to the timing of the grant award (agreement not signed yet – pending the State) and a forecasted snowstorm for this weekend, the State is allowing the use of these funds immediately regardless of City Council approval.  The Governor will be announcing this grant and the locations of the Winter Emergency Hub locations today.

 We will still submit the needed legislation to the Council but wanted all to keep everyone in the loop.

 Please let me know if you have any questions or have any concerns.

 Thank you,



Later that day, City Council President John Ward responded … (Note: Bold Italics Provided By The Coalition) 

Good evening:
Sorry for the delay in responding. You must keep in mind that we are the grantee to the grant and before signing the grant agreement (a contract over $100,000) it will require a resolution approved by the city council. The charter provision is not about the spending of the money, it is about approving contracts (entering into agreements whereby the city will spend the money). Frankly, the application should have been placed on the last city council agenda as a resolution to authorize the administration to enter into a contract to proceed with any awarded grant for Emergency Winter Hub Operating Agreement that may come from the application. That would not only be the prudent thing to do, but would avoid the completely improper assertion that “…the State is allowing the use of these funds immediately regardless of City Council approval.”
Also, Alyssa’s statement that “…since we are already registered as a vendor with the state that we do not need to re-submit and that they would be sending us a grant agreement shortly.” smacks of the same kind of logic that got us caught up in the Mendon Road problem. This is why the city council should ALWAYS be considered a partner in these endeavors. The administration, and specifically the planning department, is not a rogue agent of the city government, entitled to go off doing whatever seems appropriate at the time without first communicating with the city council and solicitor to be sure that all proper procedures are followed. This situation has the city council treated as though their role is for sweeping up after the parade has gone by. I don’t think the city council should be in that position.

Sec. 10.  City council confirmation.

All purchases or contracts in the nature of lease purchase shall not be awarded until approved by resolution of the city council.  All purchases or contracts in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) or purchases or contracts scheduled to be performed beyond one (1) year shall not be awarded until approved by resolution of the city council. 

Charter obligations cannot be waived by administrative action of a state department or agency or even the Woonsocket City Council, but can only be superseded by specific language incorporated in a legislative act (statute).
The solicitor has other considerations that will need to be addressed before this award can be accepted.
Thank you.
John Ward
Prior Reporting:



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