Newport RI City Hall Broadway

Letter: Demanding Transparency – Newport’s City Manager Appointment Under Scrutiny

To the Editor:

I’m writing in response to the recent decision made by our city council during the emergency meeting to appoint a new city manager. Firstly, I question the urgency of the situation that warranted such swift action. The fact that the new appointee is expected to start mid-July seems to suggest a rushed process.

I’ve raised this issue with fellow voters, who share my concerns about the legal validity of this appointment. Despite the clear stipulation in our charter regarding municipal experience, it seems that the decision was made solely based on the votes of a few council members. This raises broader questions about the integrity of our city’s governance.

My apprehension extends to the compensation package offered to the new appointee, including a $225,000 annual salary with five weeks paid vacation and two weeks paid sick leave, a generous moving allowance, and the opportunity to earn additional income teaching, consulting, and as an official for youth sports. These perks raise eyebrows, especially considering the lack of municipal experience mandated by our city’s charter for such a position.

However, the legality of this appointment remains dubious, as our charter explicitly requires municipal experience, which the new appointee lacks. The council’s decision to overlook this criterion undermines the integrity of our city’s laws and governance. Furthermore, I find no provision within our city laws permitting a mere four votes to amend the charter. Such a pivotal decision should necessitate a city-wide referendum, not be subject to the whims of a select few. What if these four just decided to once again disregard the charter and do away with municipal elections? Could they just appoint themselves to unlimited terms?

Our council is turning the reins over to an overpaid travel agent (his last Navy job), and they say that’s OK, I don’t. While Mr. Kennedy may possess commendable personal qualities, the law is clear regarding the qualifications for this role.

I implore a local legal expert to scrutinize this matter and consider challenging it in court. Such action is necessary to ensure that Newport remains steadfastly committed to upholding the principles of good governance and adherence to the rule of law.


Jack Milburn
Newport, RI




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!