Poore is high-profile applicant as judge for town's new municipal court

Poore is high-profile applicant as judge for town's new municipal court

SMITHFIELD - The Town Council has started interviewing candidates seeking to become judge of the community's soon-to-operate municipal court, initiating the process with an applicant who's no stranger to legal issues here.

The council on Feb. 18 held a closed interview with William A. Poore, who for two decades until the early 2000s served off and on as town solicitor and deputy solicitor under Democratic administrations.

At times Poore replaced the current solicitor, Edmund L. Alves Jr., who for many years has held the post under Republican administrations.

Republicans have a 3-2 edge on the incumbent Town Council.

According to Town Manager Dennis Finlay, four other applicants for the post have not previously been associated with town government.

They are David A. Ursillo, Donald K. Lembo, Thomas M. Petronio, and Jacqueline M. Bouchard, all Smithfield residents, as is Poore.

Town officials several years ago authorized creation of a municipal court to deal with zoning and housing violations, but in an economy move decided against appointing the part-time judge, leaving the court with no means to operate.

At Finlay's request, the council in September decided to move ahead with the court, stressing that it would not deal with traffic violations.

Some residents opposed a traffic component, fearing the town would over-emphasize ticketing as a revenue source. Finlay said at the time that the current system of using the state Traffic Tribunal "works just fine."

Town Solicitor Alves said a municipal court would expedite zoning and housing cases that can take years to resolve in state courts.

The part-time judge will be paid $7,000 annually.

Poore has been involved with a number of high-profile issues over the years, including some in Smithfield.

He represented the Catholic Diocese of Providence when it was charged with sexual abuses at the St. Aloysius orphanage on Austin Avenue, now Mater Ecclesiae College, and was solicitor here in 2001 when an x-rated video store drew emotional protests.

Poore was a court-appointed special master for the review of payouts to surviving victims and to families of those who died in The Station night club fire, and was a negotiator for West Warwick in 2004 when a casino was proposed for the town.

He works in the Providence law firm of Poore and Rosenbaum.