Letter to the Editor: Newport Residents Demand Accountability in City Manager Selection Process

To the Editor,

I am writing to address a concerning report that has surfaced in recent days regarding the potential selection of our next Newport City Manager. If true, this news is deeply troubling and raises significant questions about the adherence to our Charter’s criteria, particularly in the experience section.

While I cannot speak to the professional qualifications of the purported candidate, it appears that their lack of municipal experience may not align with the Charter’s stipulations. This requirement underscores the importance of selecting a candidate with a robust understanding of municipal operations.

Furthermore, I am puzzled by the composition of the search committee, which reportedly includes individuals from neighboring towns rather than Newport residents. Among them, there is an individual who advocated for decisions contrary to Newport’s interests, as well as others whose experience does not mirror the challenges we face daily.

It is disheartening to note that esteemed figures such as former Manager Nicholson, former Mayors Winthrop, Trifero, Rodericks, Sardella, or ex-school chief d’Andrea were overlooked in this process. The exclusion of such knowledgeable voices raises questions about the decision-making rationale.

If these reports hold merit, it is imperative that our City Council provides explanations on several fronts. Why was an individual with a history of opposing Newport’s interests included on the board? Why were Newport residents not represented? And why was the input of the former Manager, who possesses invaluable insights, disregarded?

Additionally, the haste with which a contract is allegedly being offered, without prior public consultation, is concerning. Transparency and community involvement are essential in such decisions, and the apparent lack thereof is disconcerting.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that these reports prove unfounded. However, the gravity of the situation necessitates immediate clarification. This process should not resemble the odor of a dead fish; it should be transparent, inclusive, and above all, in the best interests of Newport and its residents.

Jack Milburn
Newport, RI




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