BURRILLVILLE – Newly elected councilors took the oath of office Wednesday night and held a reorganizational meeting, naming Councilor Donald Fox to serve as their new president.
And longtime Councilor Stephen Rawson will serve as vice president of the board for the next two years, following unanimous votes on nominations for both positions.
The meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 9 was the board’s first since a November election that saw Republican Justin Batalon secure a seat, and both Republican Raymond Trinque and Democrat Jeremy Bailey win their reelection bids.
Former Council President John Pacheco opted not to seek another term in 2020.
Fox, a Cranston native, is currently midway through his second term on the board. He has a MBA from Bryant College, and also studied at Leningrad State University.
The owner of a Broncos Highway business, Alashan Cashmere, Fox made headlines in the past year by leading initiatives to have Burrillville named a First and Second Amendment “sanctuary” town.
Rep. David Place led a swearing in ceremony, marking an official start to the changing of the guard.
Councilors were also named to representatives of various town committees on Wednesday, and a few changes were made, with Batalon replacing Fox on the Screening Committee and the Industrial Foundation, and taking over for Councilor Amanda Gingell on the Administrative Audit Subcommittee.
For her part, Gingell was named representative to the School Committee, taking over for Fox, and the Burrillville Prevention Action Committee, in place of Bailey.
On the Sewer Commission, Councilor Dennis Anderson took the place of Trinque.
Batalon, an active town volunteer with roles on numerous boards, officially resigned from the Budget Board, the Recreation Commission and the Board of Administration to focus his work on the council.
Councilors also confirmed the town’s legal representation for the next two years making only one change, with Municipal Court Judge Brenda Ferry and Associate Judge Nicholas Gorham switching roles.
Bailey voted to confirm the change, but said he plans to sponsor an ordinance in the future to make sure both judges spend time on the bench.
“I really do prefer these people be town residents,” Bailey said of Ferry, who was named to the position in 2019 following the resignation of Judge Kevin Heitke. “I’ve worked with Mr. Gorham before, and I find him to be very professional.”
Trinque agreed that the town’s scheduling of judges needs to be looked at.
“We’ve had problems in the past with people being paid for doing nothing,” Trinque said.
Rawson was not present for this week’s special meeting.
The council cancelled their meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 23, and is not expected to meet again until January.