Vartanian departs as safety director

Vartanian departs as safety director

PAWTUCKET – Almost exactly a year after taking over as the city’s public safety director, retired Rhode Island National Guard Col. James Vartanian is stepping down from the post to address personal health issues.

Police Chief Tina Goncalves is now filling in as acting public safety director and Deputy Director of Administration Dylan Zelazo is serving as director of administration as Mayor Donald Grebien seeks a replacement for Vartanian.

“James has been an asset to my administration and our community in his year here,” said Grebien in a letter announcing the resignation.

Vartanian is leaving due to his need to undergo extensive surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle, according to Grebien.

“This procedure will require James to remain immobile and would ultimately have kept him away from his position for four to six months,” said the mayor. “I thank him for his work during his time with the city and wish him the best of luck in his recovery.”

Grebien said he has “the utmost confidence in Pawtucket’s first female chief, Tina Goncalves, to be able to manage the dual role. She has continued to be a strong, proactive and transparent leader.”

He said he and Goncalves discussed and agreed prior to her being appointed the acting public safety director that they would revisit the position in a few months.

According to Grebien spokesman Wilder Arboleda, “nothing is off the table,” including Goncalves potentially filling the role permanently.

When he was sworn in last September, Vartanian promised to serve Pawtucket with the same loyalty, integrity and dedication with which he’d served in the R.I. National Guard, where he had served as director of operations. He pledged to “make our city safer and stronger” through strong relationships with everyone in Pawtucket.

Upon his hiring, Grebien said a dedicated safety director was needed to lead all three of the city’s public safety departments – police, fire and emergency management – into the future. Agencies are facing increasingly more complex processes and tasks, including preventing cyber attacks, according to officials, and need a professional who isn’t responsible for day-to-day operations to oversee the wider goals and objectives of city safety.

Vartanian was hired at a $105,000 salary.


Anyone that believes this reasoning, well, I have a bridge to sell ya!

In a lot of movies and TV shows when an employment separation happens either good or bad they always say to the person that you can say its due to your health followed by you can now do what ever hobby you enjoy doing.

Case in point the exact scene above was in the political murder thriller movie "Murder at 1600"

I dont buy and niether should you. The mayor is being very safe so close to an election, that he really has nothing to worry over but there are a lot of people that he has been stumping with and for.

How much more can go wrong for Donny before people wake and and say, all of this can't be the fault of everyone else, could it be city govt?

Memorial Hosp,Pawsox,Matlet Group, Bucket Brewery, Microfibers,Rose furniture.

Im sure everysees the point. How can the city be open for business when so many have had to close over the last 2 yrs for a variety of reasons, taxes, just counldt turn profit, no one wanted to purchase.

where was the mayor lazer focused on the pawsox, no one to help out ole mom m'pop. What a shame.