Spooner letter reeks of politics

Spooner letter reeks of politics

I am pleased to offer a counter point of view to that of Mr. Raymond Spooner and his letter that was published in The Valley Breeze on Aug. 19. I write to praise two very honorable public servants, Councilmen Lorenzo (Larry) Tetreault (At-Large) and Timothy Rudd (District 6), against seemingly politically motivated attacks.

Although Mr. Spooner, a member of the Pawtucket School Committee, describes Mr. Tetreault and Mr. Rudd as "politically ambitious," it should be noted that Mr. Spooner is a longtime political ally and friend of Mayor Donald Grebien, and he is a supporter of the mayor's handpicked candidate for Council-At-Large, who is opposing Mr. Tetreault and the other incumbents. The mayor's strained relations with the City Council have been well documented, and his team, including Mr. Spooner, is lobbying hard to oust those at-large members that don't roll over and play dead.

One can't help but notice that Mr. Spooner goes out of his way to compliment the mayor's two strongest Council allies, Councilmen Jean Philippe Barros and Albert Vitali. Now, that is a real "personal agenda" that includes "hypocrisy" and "petty politics," sir.

Votes that are purportedly in "the best interest" of the city, as Mr. Spooner describes them, not only should be questioned and discussed, but must be in order to make sure all angles of an issue are examined.

I was a proud member of the Pawtucket City Council for four years and its president for two. I considered it part of my job to ask tough questions of all city departments, including the School Department, which continually ran deficits during my service, freely overspending its allocated dollars and then threatening to file suit against the taxpayers for the money.

Mr. Spooner is partially correct when he states, "The School Committee...has sole authority over school related matters." But, he neglects to inform the reader that the council controls the purse strings. It passes the School Department's budget and ratifies its contracts. Therefore, council members are obligated to ask the serious questions.

Certainly, some recent actions by the School Committee have begged questions. For example, it unilaterally extended a contract after the voters amended the Charter and took that power away, and the voters still don't have answers as to why the taxpayers were paying for two superintendents simultaneously, as the committee refuses to release the minutes of the illegal meetings where that issue was discussed. Where are all the transparency advocates now?

I am "resident, taxpayer, and voter" as well. I say to Mr. Tetreault and Mr. Rudd, I have seen first hand the excellent work you both do, and I saw nothing "inaccurate" or "inappropriate" about your conduct. Please don't be deterred by personal attacks and political agendas. Keep asking the tough questions and practicing the checks-balances system of government. It is indeed a central part of your job, despite what others may wish. Let the sun shine in!

Henry S. Kinch, Jr.