This is a letter from Newport City Councilor Jeanne Marie Napolitano
To the Council Elect and voters of Newport, I want to go on the record that I have always believed in an open and transparent government. For this reason, I am submitting this statement, as I recognize many in the community do not understand the process of selecting chair & vice-chair.
After the election, any at-large member may ask their fellow members for their support to serve as chair. The same process is used for vice chair.
After calling each candidate to express my interest in the mayor position, a week passed before any call back was initiated by Councilor Bova. During our discussion, Jamie stated, she would vote for me as Mayor; however, she wanted to be Vice Chair as she felt this would bring the Council together. I was surprised, as this was the first time she expressed her desire to be vice Chair. It was ironic that in the name of transparency I was asked to cut a backroom deal. I expressed concern about her availability and experience. She indicated she had spoken to her bosses about working from her home a couple of days a week. I stated Lynn had indicated the night of the election she would like to continue as vice-chair, and asked for my support. Knowing how hard Lynn has worked for the last four years, I felt she deserved my support, regardless of whether or not I was mayor. I then asked Jamie if she had spoken to Lynn. She said, “I didn’t know she could receive phone calls.” I stated I had spoken to Lynn several times, as had other councilors, council-elect, constituents, and Administration. I asked her to call Lynn to discuss her proposal. During the following week Lynn did not receive a call from Jamie. She did, however, receive an email from Jamie on Thursday, November 15th that she was calling a caucus. This, I do not believe is open and transparent. Nor does it bode well to unify the Council. Councilor Bova intentionally excluded one member, Lynn Ceglie from any discussion. Lynn was probably the hardest working member of the current council. She worked tirelessly for all Newporters over the last four years, especially when organizing the merchants for the Broadway Project, and meeting with residents and the DOT for safety issues on Memorial Blvd. I have been Mayor twice and have enjoyed my service to the community. I am thankful to the voters for their continued support. For me, I know what a demanding job being mayor can be, but also recognize I can be effective as a councilor without added responsibilities. Over the past twenty years my goals have never changed. I want to leave Newport a better place for all to live, work, and visit.
As yet, neither candidate has asked me for their vote for either position, therefore, I will vote no for the proposed candidates.
– Jeanne Marie Napolitano
Newport City Councilor At-Large