Recall is laughable, misplaced overreaction

Recall is laughable, misplaced overreaction

News of a recall petition aimed at two of Woonsocket's two city councilors, Garrett Mancieri and Melissa Murray, broke on Thursday, March 13. As I read the headlines, I wondered what evidence of corruption, collusion, or impropriety had surfaced concerning the newest members of our City Council to warrant such a severe reaction. After reading further - and a quick calendar check to make sure the date wasn't April 1 - I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

The push for the recall stems from a council resolution introduced, and tabled, in support of exploring the reimplementation of full-day kindergarten (FDK) on the heels of the unanimous vote by the School Board in support of the measure. The School Board's vote would still have to be scrutinized and approved by the city's state appointed budget commission in order to take effect. Voting for the implementation of any program within the city - by either the School Board or City Council - is a completely symbolic measure while the budget commission is in play.

Whether you are for or against FDK in Woonsocket may be a moot point in the very near future. The Rhode Island General Assembly is currently forming a commission to study statewide implementation of FDK. Given their track record of expanding education in Rhode Island, I'd be willing to bet that we will see this happen within the next two-to-three years. If FDK legislation is introduced and passed by the General Assembly, it will certainly contain funding provisions. Woonsocket could take this opportunity to be ahead of the curve on the issue, and wouldn't that be nice for a change?

During last year's election cycle, there was a lot of talk about getting more - and more diverse - people participating in our local government. Now that we have diversified the council somewhat, a group of voters in the city think that support of a non-binding resolution is enough to warrant the recall of two councilors who have absolutely no control over the School Board.

A recall petition targeting these councilors serves only as a less-than-subtle disincentive for anyone considering a future bid for public office. It is completely misdirected due to the fact that - even in the absence of a budget commission - the School Board, not the City Council, approves or disapproves any measure concerning the city's school system.

Those who are spearheading this recall effort may claim that their motivation, "...ain't personal...," and that may be true, but it also "ain't" a reasonable reaction to a largely symbolic resolution that was immediately tabled, and even if passed, carries little to no weight with the city's budget commission. A slightly more reasonable, though still pretty absurd, approach against FDK implementation would be to petition the mayor to remove School Board members that voted in favor of the measure and appoint new members.

Dave Fisher

Woonsocket

Fisher was a candidate for mayor in 2012.