Elorza stands by his confrontation of McKee, demands state makes teachers contracts public

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza held a virtual press conference Thursday afternoon, demanding the state makes public its newly negotiated contract with the Providence Teacher’s Union, which is set to be voted on Friday.

“It’s a slap in the face to the entire community,” Elorza said. 

“It’s a slap in the face if this contract gets signed and finalized by the commissioner and by the governor without at least engaging the community, hearing their input and making sure that their voices are heard,” the mayor continued.

During the virtual press conference, Elorza was asked several times if he regretted his actions at WaterFire on Wednesday night, where a heated Elorza confronted governor Dan McKee and called him a “coward” for not facing the community and allowing them to have a say in the teachers contracts.

“Look, I approached the governor to talk to him specifically about this contract and you can see very clearly that he had no interest in engaging me in that conversation, just as he has had no interest in engaging the community in that conversation,” Elorza said.

“And what I told him then is what I’ll tell him now— you can’t hide from this situation.”

Mayor Elorza has received some backlash for his actions, notably from the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, which issued a statement their social media accounts saying the Mayor acted unprofessionally. 

“Look at the manner in which he was speaking,” said Michael Imondi, president of the Providence Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3.

“His aggressive manner towards the governor, pointing his finger at him, trying to get to him. A good leader would praise someone in public and criticize them in private, obviously this was no the tactics of a good leader,” Imondi told ABC6.

Elorza says he’s read a leaked copy of the teachers union contract and has several issues with it, including teacher seniority, teacher incentives, and lesson plans.

Elorza said part of the reason for calling his Thursday press conference was because he’s run out of options and hopes his words result in some last-minute changes.

The Providence Teachers Union is set to vote on and ratify the contract on Friday.

Categories: News, Providence, Rhode Island