Entire five-member Task Force resigns following defeat of bond in North Smithfield

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Members of the MBRTF during a joint meeting with the Town Council in February.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – All five members of the town’s Municipal Building Review Task Force resigned this week, submitting a letter to the Town Council noting that their, “beliefs, expectations, knowledge and recommendations may not be in alignment with the path this council is looking to pursue.”

The resignations follow a special election in which North Smithfield voters decisively rejected a ballot question requesting authority for the town to take out an $18 million bond to finance construction of a new police station. Members of the MBRTF had worked on the project for years, with recommendations on everything from the architect that designed the proposed structure, to the language in the ballot question.

Since new councilors took the helm last year, however, not all of their recommendations have been followed. It was the council that voted in May to include phrasing on the ballot citing renovation of the current station – a former schoolhouse on Smithfield Road – despite testimony from many that the building could not be brought to modern policing standards. Critics of the bond initiative cited the confusing language as a major cause for concern.

And two councilors – President Kimberly Alves and member Paulette Hamilton – called for rejection of the bond in the month leading up to the vote. The referendum was defeated by a vote of 1,715 to 1,071 on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

All five members of the appointed board, including Chairman Paul Vadenais, Paul Nordstrom, Teresa Bartomioli, John Perry and David Chamberland, signed the letter of resignation. Most had served since the MBRTF was first formed in 2016 to take over town projects started by a prior commission – the Public Buildings Improvement Committee. At the time, the council had seen a similar change in direction following an election of new councilors.

The group has since overseen projects including renovation of the former Kendall Dean School at 83 Green St., which now serves as Town Hall.

“Many of those projects became a reality and we worked with the contractors and other professionals to complete the buildings on time and within the budget and constraints,” noted the resignation. “We take pride in these accomplishments.”

“As members we have always worked to achieve the directive from all of the Town Councils and the various administrators we have worked with and to make appropriate recommendations based on the information provided to us from the various professionals we were working with and the conditions surrounding each project,” the letter noted. “We have been fortunate to be able to work together and take our many years of experience in the various fields we work in and blend our knowledge and expertise to provide recommendations, which were intended to move the town forward on the projects planned.”

“We find ourselves 100 percent united in our decision to step away at this time,” the letter states. 

“The town is clearly intending to go in a different direction regarding the Police Station. We feel the town may be better served by formulating a new Task Force who has the same beliefs. We wish you luck as you move forward with new views, and direction, and hope that the decisions made benefit the town and all of its population for years to come,” the letter concludes.

Town officials are now seeking new volunteers to fill the roles. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Joanne Buttie at (401) 767-2200 ext. 326 or jbuttie@nsmithfieldri.org for an application or go to www.nsmithfieldri.org/boards to download the application and submit it to Town Clerks Office, 83 Greene Street, North Smithfield, RI 02896.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. They had no choice but to resign. How could any one try to work with the three ring circus of the N.S. Town council !

      • I don’t know anybody! We sold and got outta Town! Best thing we ever did! 30 plus years of property ownership and all we ever got was higher taxes and nothing to show for it. We lived on Saint Paul street with NOTHING……NO water,NO gas and NO sewers! We should have had sewers but a former T/A and current T/C member put the SQUASH to that half way through the project!

        • Sorry, I couldn’t resist! I was just teasing not only you, but a number of folks here who take themselves way too seriously! I’m glad you are pleased with your new location although I am confused that you would be still upset with the town council. I agree they often appear dysfunctional.

          • I still have family in town getting nothing for all their taxes. They don’t say much………………so I say it for them.

      • Fascinating Richard that you make passive insinuations of special treatment and “I know a guy deals” when all this reader was suggesting that he moved out of town. I see you follow the self -appointed “internet” town administrator of North Smithfield playbook.

          • I think it might be someone with the initials of J followed by B, that person really does like to flex their influence power a lot.

            • Incorrect, but apparently for you it is and it’s working. Seems like he is the first thing that you think of when you wake and the last thing you think of before you go to bed….someone owns your headspace.

              And it’s unfortunate for all taxpayers and residents that you think your “big three “ accomplishments have to do with making you “feel better”. I’m happy for you that they did that for you. Perhaps you can stop playing the victim now and focus on issues and solutions that benefit the whole town instead of making it all about you and your feelings.

              • Incorrect, I live in their head rent free and it works. I’m such a threat to their influence, it’s amazing that all I have to do is just exist, before they start sweating and need someone to speak on their behalf. I feel sorry for the town if you can’t see the bigger picture of what they actually did, maybe it wasn’t broken down enough for you.

                #1. Showing care and compassion for their fellow neighbors and other townsfolk. Really shows the effort they’re willing to give to the town.
                #2. Trying to curb wrong behavior of someone who is unhinged. Showing strength that standing up to bullying, saying it’s not tolerated in this town. (Should be a zero tolerance issue).
                #3. Showing that back room deals try to get done, and standing up for the tax payers telling the culprits that’s also not a welcomed practice here in town.
                #4. Trying to stop hate speech from happening about potential business owners in town, as well as other residents. Showing that it’s not tolerated, should be a zero tolerance issue as well. Trying to tell the other outspoken council members that there is a line to not cross, yet they do it anyways.
                #5, which got labeled as a second #4. Showing that things need to be done properly, to show that they care for the town and the individuals who live here. Not putting the carriage before the horse as a certain person has done multiple times before.

                It’s the little steps that are needed to keep sustainable change going. The previous councils have eroded so much trust from the townsfolk, that this is a huge step in the right direction. If you and others can’t see that, I suggest you take longer looks, maybe even stepping back, having someone with a different opinion look and tell you all the right things that are happening.

              • HL, Horatio Lendrumbilate (Just a guess), why don’t you just tell us ? I really want to know whose playbook you have accused me of following. I am relieved it is not JB!

  2. Paul V and his constant whine of “I only did what you told me” got old to this newbie on the town political scene very quickly. He had his agenda. He drove the task force into developing a “Sophie’s Choice” referendum to the taxpayers. Sadly, Sophie did not have the option to reject hers.

  3. “I’m going home and I’m taking my ball and bat with me!”

    Don’t go away angry, just go away… and take your friends with you.

  4. Well, it looks like Vadnais and his cohorts are now gone, thank-you all for your resignations. All because they didn’t get their way with the “taj Mahal” of police stations. Hopefully they will now all stay away from town politics. Maybe, just maybe, Zwolenski, Beauregard, and O’Hara will also resign, fingers crossed. It’s now up to Alves, Hamilton, and Ozier to take the lead and move us in a fiscally responsible direction. This is not the time to overspend and under deliver folks. It’s a much better day in North Smithfield!

  5. The committee did not have the correct mission or idea of there role. First there role is not to provide one recommendation and get disappointed when the recommendation is not executed. The role of the committee is to give the town council a number of options and give the pros and cons off each option and let the council decide. The committee put the council in a difficult place with only one expensive option and an off election voting plan. The committee took direction from one group and failed at exploring other options and was annoyed when there option was rejected by the voters. This shows that the members of the committee are not open or do not respect the taxpayers opinion.

  6. All I can say is good for them. Who would want to sit on a committee or be any part of the backwards decision making in this town. You have the same extremely negative people pushing things they will never live to see.

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