Judge Clears Way for Central Coventry Fire Dept. Vote

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 


Judge Brian Stern of the Kent County Superior Court said, “A red herring is something that sounds appealing but is really meant to distract.”

And with that Superior Court Judge Brian Stern denied a request from two state lawmakers. They wanted the Judge to make public a confidential report that would describe how public safety would be protected if the Central Coventry Fire District is shut down.

State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R) Rhode Island said, “I think it's never a red herring for people to get all of the information they need.”

State Sen. Nick Kettle, (R) Rhode Island said,”No I am not angry. I'm disappointed. I just thought it was important to get all the information out for the taxpayers.”

So, on Tuesday night voters in the Central Coventry Fire District will vote again on whether to approve a budget – and a tax increase – after rejecting one earlier this year.

Capt. David Gorman, of the Central Coventry Fire Department said, “And we are hoping for a yes vote and are confident that people know a yes vote is to save your fire department.”

But if the vote fails again, the fire department will be closed and liquidated, because it's out of money. Surrounding fire departments have pledged to try to cover the area, but maybe not for long. 

Chief Andrew Baynes, Central Coventry Fire Department was asked by ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis, “(Chief) When we were here on February 15th the surrounding chiefs said they could provide coverage for about 3 or 4 days in your district. Do you think that's still the case and do you think that might effect how people will vote tomorrow night?”

Chief Baynes answered, “We learned the hard way. Three days is about our level of ability, and I am not minimizing anything.”

Voters in Central Coventry can cast ballots Tuesday night at Coventry High School. The public forum and then the vote, will take place between 6 and 10 p.m. ABC 6 will be there to cover it ‘live' with a report on the vote results on ABC6 News at 11.