E-Verify amended, Tucker Field fees upgraded

E-Verify amended, Tucker Field fees upgraded

CUMBERLAND - A slimmed-down version of the ordinance calling on Town Hall leaders to use the federal E-Verify system when hiring someone new gathered supporters and detractors last week and is now due for an up or down vote on April 6.

Seven organizations and one attorney associated with the legal rights of minority, low-income and other vulnerable citizens delivered a letter to the Town Council last week that strongly agrees with Council President James Higgins' contention that this system is "error-ridden" and "has been used to unduly burden and discriminate against lawful workers from gaining employment."

Meanwhile, turning up in person to support the ordinance was former Town Council President Marlene Smith, who told Councilor Manuel DaCosta's Ordinance subcommittee members the system offers fairness.

This ordinance, introduced by Councilor Scott Schmitt and supported by DaCosta, calls on Town Hall to check the legal status of anyone offered a job using the E-Verify system that cross-checks Social Security numbers. The ordinance will require four votes to pass.

According to the E-verify website, the majority of Rhode Island communities are already using it.

DaCosta's subcommittee agreed to amend the ordinance slightly by changing "potential employees" to "newly hired employees," and to remove phrases that included references to "illegal aliens."

Quoting an expression by her late husband, Jim Smith, Marlene Smith asked, in support of the measure, "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

She noted, too, "There are obviously a lot of political overtones and people are afraid of it."

Former Town Council member Jim Hollis told the subcommittee the measure bring "fairness to those who do it the legal way."

In other council action:

* Approved an adjustment to the rental rates of the newly renovated high school football field, which is under the town's care, rather than the School Department.

New rates reflect the upgrade to artificial turf at Tucker Field. They were proposed by Parks & Recreation Director Mike Crawley with allowances made for local youth teams, such as the Colts football organization.

Under the plan, adult Cumberland resident organizations will pay $100 an hour; adult and youth non-resident teams will pay $200 an hour.

Cumberland youth groups will be charged $100 an hour but will be granted four free five-hour time slots per season.

The offer extends only to local youth groups that are open to all who apply, such as the Colts, said Crawley. Selective traveling teams will be charged, he said.

Lights on the field are available to all at a rate of $100 for four hours.

The field is not gated off so that residents may use the track, but there is a $150 fine for using the field without a permit, Crawley said.

He also noted that many fields with artificial turf are now available and rental demand by outside groups will be less because of that.

* Councilors refused to consider a rezoning of 436 Mendon Road, the site of a house in disrepair next to a kitchen counter shop where Chuck Lombardi's auto body shop will be located, until they get a recommendation from the Planning Board.

The request from Joseph and Aurora Almeida is a change from light commercial to multi-family. A total of eight new units on 31,000 square feet are proposed for the site.

Pushed by the applicant's attorney, however, the councilors did express an interest in seeing the property upgraded and noted it sits between the coming auto body shop and Berkeley Commons, a multi-family development.

Comments

E - Verify should be part of the hiring process. If you don't agree don't apply . lets quiet coddling people that something to hide.