Gould allowed to run for Lincoln’s top seat

Gould allowed to run for Lincoln’s top seat

LINCOLN – A little more than a month after Town Administrator Joseph Almond’s last day at Town Hall, several Lincoln residents are confirming interest in running for Lincoln’s top elected seat. 

Philip Gould appeared before the Rhode Island Ethics Commission on Tuesday to seek an opinion on whether his position as police captain in Lincoln prohibits him from seeking the position.

According to the summary read by Staff Attorney Teodora Popova Papa, the town charter prohibits a town employee from holding an elected office with the town but not from seeking one while they're still an employee.

"It is the opinion of the staff that the petitioner is not prohibited by the code from continuing to serve as administrative captain while seeking election to the position of town administrator," she said.

The commission offered several conditions, including:

• No public time or resources can be used for campaigning.

• Gould can't solicit campaign contributions from subordinates.

• There can be no understanding that campaign contributions will affect his official actions.

The commission voted unanimously in favor of the opinion allowing Gould to run for office.

Gould said he had not anticipated Almond stepping down from office.

"I had ideas for 2022 possibly, but this kind of came up really quickly," he said.

Gould said he has a lot of vacation time and that "there will be no conflicts between the candidate Gould and the captain." He said he currently has many projects at the department that only he can handle and said he's trying to train people for redundancy in case things work out well for him.

Commissioner J. Douglas Bennett said Gould should come back to the commission if he has any further questions."

Anything having to do with elections or politics, which obviously comes across our desk frequently, is volatile at the very least. Just a word of advice," he said.

Commissioner Arriane Corrente, a Lincoln resident, also cautioned Gould.

"I would just echo the caution from Commissioner Bennett to be really careful for those things. Even timing of social media posts can be a concern for people," she said. 

Gould told The Breeze he sought guidance because he’s “strongly considering” running, and that the guidance will allow him to have a serious conversation with his family about that possibility. 

“For the past 29 years I’ve served the town with an unbridled passion and I look forward to exploring other avenues in which I may be able to serve,” he said. 

There have been a handful of other potential candidates' names swirling throughout town and on social media. 

Town Council president Keith Macksoud, whose name came up as a potential candidate soon after Almond’s departure in March, said this week he’s not planning to run in the special election.

He said running for the position in 2022 is “not off the table.”

Bill McManus, who recently resigned from the School Committee after alleging bullying by School Committee member John Picozzi, told The Breeze he is not a candidate for Town Administrator. 

Picozzi, who's also been in the middle of several other feuds of late, said this week that he’s considering “all options at this time” when asked if he intends to run.

John Cullen was among the first candidates to declare his intent to run for the open administrator position. A perennial candidate, Cullen has campaigned for a number of local and state positions, and joined the Republican party last year after spending some time as an independent.

Sen. Thomas Paolino has told people close to him that he’s planning to declare his candidacy for town administrator, though he has not formally announced his intentions to run.

Another state politician, former District 46 Rep. Jack Lyle, said this week that he’s “keeping all of his options open” at this point. Lyle, who recently switched from a Republican to an independent, was narrowly defeated in the last election, losing his House seat to Democrat Mary Ann Shallcross Smith. 

Dean Lees Jr., who ran against Macksoud last election, said Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to run for administrator.

 "It wouldn’t be the prudent thing to be doing right now,” he said.

"The Town Council is running like a crime syndicate" by not following the "letter of the law."

"They’ve chosen to openly obstruct an election process, while also choosing to make two illegal and impeachable offenses by appointing a non-resident as an acting town clerk and appointing the police chief as acting town administrator, violating the town charter," he said.

“Whoever does run will not get much done,” he said.

Comments

This is great news for the town. There is so much uncertainty in this town right now and it is great to see a person such as mr gould stepping up to run for town administrator. He brings a long career with the police department and is the town administrator lincoln needs to get on the right path.

Captain Gould has my support