Large crowd prompts cancellation of meeting to re-appoint contro - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Large crowd prompts cancellation of meeting to re-appoint controversial E. Greenwich manager

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By John Krinjak

Email: jkrinjak@abc6.com

Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WLNE) -- People in East Greenwich were fired up Tuesday night over the prospect of re-appointing a controversial town manager.

So many people turned out at the meeting where that was set to happen, that the meeting had to be canceled.

The planned meeting followed a Superior Court judge's ruling last week that the July appointment of town manager Gayle Corrigan was "null and void" because the town did it in violation of the open meetings act.

The announcement that the meeting was canceled due to an over-capacity crowd at the community center was met with boos by residents on both sides of the controversy surrounding Gayle Corrigan.

"I've been involved in town government here for over 20 years and I've never seen the problems that we have at present," said councilor Mark Schwager. 

Those problems came to a head with Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl's ruling last week that Corrigan's appointment as town manager was null and void because the town council did it behind closed doors, and negotiated the terms of her employment without informing the public.

"It was a procedural issue that the judge caught us on. She said we didn't do everything properly. We can disagree with the judge but we're going to follow her directive. Her directive was redo everything," said council president Sue Cienki.

But many claim the issue isn't just procedural, saying Corrigan's hiring was a conflict of interest from the get-go.

They're also calling into question one of her first moves as town manager--letting go firefighter James Perry--which the judge also overturned.

Perry's brother William didn't mince words.

"Gayle Corrigan should not be working in the town. For some reason the town council continues to support her," said William Perry, who is also the president of the firefighters union. "It's time for Gayle to go."

Others say the town government needs to be less secretive in general. 

"Going forward we want really to encourage transparency. We feel a lot of stuff that's gone down just hasn't been as transparent as it needs to be," said Heather Tibbets, who is a member of the group "Engage EG."

Corrigan declined to speak to us Tuesday night.

The meeting will be rescheduled at the high school so that it can accommodate a larger crowd. 

A date for that has not been set, but the judge ordered it has to be within the next week.

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