WOONSOCKET – City Councilor Denise Sierra says Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt may once again find herself faced with the possibility of removal from office, though the mayor is chalking up this latest scuffle to it now again being silly season in Woonsocket politics.

“It’s not me wanting to remove the mayor, it’s the acts and deeds of the mayor that puts her in a position where we must contemplate removal,” Sierra said this week.

Last September, the City Council voted in a 5-2 decision to officially censure Baldelli-Hunt for placing a nearly $12,000 shade shelter at River’s Edge Complex instead of the Woonsocket Animal Control Shelter where the council instructed that it be placed.

When The Breeze spoke with Sierra this week, she had yet to file the complaint and was waiting on the outcome of Wednesday’s council meeting on questions of stipend misappropriation to municipal employees by the mayor’s administration. She said results of that meeting would determine whether or not she included misappropriation of town funds in the complaint itself.

A draft complaint includes an accusation of deviating from governmental procedure with Community Development Block Grants and delaying requests for proposals for improvements to the animal shelter and middle school skatepark weeks beyond deadlines and extensions.

In a June 6 council meeting, Sierra asked Director of Public Works Steven D’Agostino about the status of a request for proposals for improvements to the skate park that had a deadline of May 16. D’Agostino answered that he wasn’t sure if it was done, and when Sierra asked why, he responded, “busy.”

“That was a little bit shocking to me because it was very flippant. ‘Busy’ is not an excuse, especially when the council allocated $15,000 for the skatepark,” Sierra said. “You know what happens if I tell my job I didn’t get my job done because I’m busy? That doesn’t work for us and that was the case.”

“In the eyes of the public that might not seem so awful but it’s the same pattern of behavior, refusal to be open with the City Council and be open and transparent as to how things run in this city,” Sierra added.

Baldelli-Hunt’s initial response this week to being told of another attempt by Sierra to remove her from office was, “shame on her.”

“We all know how busy Director D’Agostino is. Just look at the condition our city was like when we got here as an administration. The fact that Denise Sierra does not see that the city is busy is an indication that speaks volumes about how she is disconnected with this community. I hear that from a lot of her constituents about her,” the mayor told The Breeze.

She added that she believes the late requests are out now, but that her job is “not to check if RFPs are in the newspaper.”

With regard to stipends, Baldelli-Hunt said ahead of the meeting that if any city employee is receiving a stipend, it’s because they deserve to receive it.

“This administration has done more with less people. When you don’t have positions that are budgeted, sometimes you have to give stipends,” she said. “I prefer not to give stipends. I prefer to have appropriate staffing.”

(4) comments

sw02895

In the 9 years or so LBH has been mayor... Woonsocket has gone way downhill!! Crime is surging ... and quite simply I don't trust her at all ... Nepotism for friends and family has been a problem with LBH since day 1 .. Ethics violations , you name it .... Woonsocket needs a new and trustworthy mayor ..

Jean Luc

All in all, this is the worst mayor that we have ever had. I don't know when people will wake up and stop voting for her. Drive down Diamond Hill Rd. and see the empty plazas where business used to be thriving. Take a ride down Social St or Manville Rd and see how everything looks in disrepair. People are leaving their City Hall jobs in droves, we have no real supermarket to speak of (in a city of over 40,000 people), and no real prospective of business to come into the city. Since she was previously in state government, you would think that she would have contacts in state government to help push our city forward. That doesn't seem to be the case. So voters of Woonsocket, what has she done for you lately?

sw02895

Long overdue... Woonsocket needs an honest mayor with lots of integrity and we do NOT have that !!! This city is run like a cruel and ruthless dictatorship with special treatment for "Friends Family"

Tim 1952

The only thing the mayor and city council are 'busy" doing is destroying Woonsocket's quality of life, wildlife, and the rest of RI by not addressing their still-happening dumping of wastewater into The Blackstone River.

SHAME ON THEM. When is ANYONE from Woonsocket leadership going to address this problem?

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