Emergency Election Meeting Canceled in Coventry; Council Seat St - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather


Emergency Election Meeting Canceled in Coventry; Council Seat Still Vacant

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis


A special meeting to help correct an election problem in Coventry ended before it ever began.

Since the Board of Canvassers did not give the public 48 hours notice, the meeting would not be legal.

So the District 5 Council seat in Coventry remains vacant, and taxpayers are angry.

"I don't have a choice here. If I need to call someone, I have no one to call in case of an emergency. I need a councilman. This is terrible. We're not represented," said Coventry taxpayer Charlotte Porter.

Coventry has had only four council members after one resigned in February.

An ABC6 investigation found out that someone altered the town charter - without permission - and that prompted the Council not to call a special election three months ago.

Many want the election held now.

"The Board of Canvassers should seriously think about giving the people what they wish for there,” said Greg LaBoissonniere, a Coventry Town Council Member.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "If a special election is held, whoever wins will serve until November of 2016. They will not have to face re–election later this year."

With Coventry facing serious questions about fire protect and the town budget, some current councilors want the election soon.

"We have votes where we end up with a 2 to 2 vote. We need that tie-breaking vote. We need to look at the best for the town," said Karen Carlson, Coventry Town Councilor.

As for who falsified the town charter, some want a formal investigation.

"It could be the Town Council to look into this situation or the local police department. But certainly the Attorney General is an option out there right now, as well as the State Police," said State Sen. Nick Kettle, (R) Coventry.

The Board of Canvassers will take up the special election question next Tuesday night at 6 p.m.
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