Council Offers Four Candidates for Interim City Manager

Candidates will interview next Friday, 4 p.m. in open or closed session as they wish.

The EP City Council met Friday at 5 p.m. to discuss interim City Manager candidates. CREDIT: Rob Borkowski
The EP City Council met Friday at 5 p.m. to discuss interim City Manager candidates. CREDIT: Rob Borkowski
East Providence City Council members offered four candidates for interim City Manager Friday at a special 5 p.m. meeting: two current City employees, a former Westerly City Manager and a former EP City Manager.

The four candidates: Former EP City Manager Paul Lemont, EP finance officers Paul Luba and Malcolm Moore and Stephen Hartford, former City Manager in Westerly, will interview with the Council next Friday in Council Chambers at 4 p.m. The candidates will interview either in open or closed session, at their discretion.

The Council fired City Manager Peter Graczykowski Tuesday. The Council voted to approve the motion 4-1, with only Councilor Chrissy Rossi voting to keep him in the position, leaving them in need of an interim City Manager.  

Councilman Helder Cunha, who suggested Lamont, said Lamont has won awards for his work during his 14 years with the City. Lamont also demonstrates leadership qualities Cunha admires, the councilman said.

Council President Jim Briden recommended Paul Luba, appointed as Financial Advisor to replace the Budget Commission in September. Luba said he would consider taking the temporary job to help out the city. He said he is very happy with his current position and is not interested in filling the post long-term. 

In the event Luba is not able to fill the position, Councilwoman Crissy Rossi said she suggests City Finance Director Malcolm Moore

Councilman Rose suggested Steven Hartford, former Town Manager in Westerly, who resigned in August. During Friday's meeting, Hartford said he resigned because it was clear he didn't have the support of the majority of the Westerly Town Council.

Hartford, Vice President of the RI City and Town Managers Association, had held the Westerly position for four years. Prior to that, he had served as Town Solicitor in Westerly for eight years.  

Hartford said he saw East Providence would be looking for a new City Manager and decided to let the City know he was available. City Solicitor Tim Chapman said Hartford had made a formal inquiry into the job earlier this week. He said if he wins the interim job, and he and the City Council work well together, he would consider applying for the job long-term. 

When asked about whether the recent tumult surrounding Graczykowski's tenure made him nervous, Hartford said he wasn't worried.  

Jay November 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM
RT, Considering what's happened to everyone who's had the job, recently, Chapman would have to have his head examined to risk his reputation for the pittance that EP has to offer. You might also note that 3/4 of the applicants only want "interim" appointments - that means that they've all heard about what happens to CMs in EP...
RT November 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM
J, I do agree with you but you'll find on average that most CM's don't last anywhere more than 5-6years...it goes with the territory...they can't please the majority of the council all of the time. Let's hope this time that Council won't waste their time in putting together some lame "search" committee. Let HR handle the applicant process by posting the position with ICMA, screen the applicants according to the council criteria and present the top 3 or 4 candidates to the council for final interview and selection. This can be accomplished in a month. There's always a pool of unemployed CM's out there.
Jay November 12, 2013 at 01:26 AM
Well RT, I go back a ways, and, I recall that EP's first CM was its last "Town" Manager. Earl Sandquist, had a pretty long run as CM, but then that was when people were more friendly, and didn't try to destroy others for political reasons. One of the candidates this time around, Hartford, is a classic example of what CMs need to deal with [Council members with political agendas], but, in his case, I didn't hear of any viscious insults or hyperbole by the townsfolk, like what's been going on in EP. Perhaps, Peter G. should apply for Hartford's old job, if its still open. The plan you suggest for finding a replacement CM, is great - however, I'm pessimistic that this City Council will ever get past politics, and personal agendas, to act professionally enough to carry out such a plan.
RT November 12, 2013 at 10:15 AM
Yes, J, I go back as well..."Earl the Pearl" did have an unusually long run but he was also fired at one point, went to work somewhere in NJ for several years, and then was rehired by another council. Earl was a PROFESSIONAL who backed his department heads and didn't let politics get in the way... a classic no nonsense guy who did his job with integrity and pretty much told council members where to get off when they were trying to mess with employee issues. He played by the Charter. Another great CM with ethics was Paul Flynn, a Michael O'Keefe kind of adminstrator who didn't buy into ANYONE's BS. Obviously in EP, the CM-Council form of government has become eroded by elected council members who seek to circumvent the Charter thus making it impossible for any CM to hold that position for very long.
Jay November 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM
RT, Your comments are spot on! The current City Council is probably the most divisive that I can recall. We've got members that just decide to go off and do things on their own, instead of what they they should be doing - working together to iron out problems by discussion & compromise. I guess they're just following the lead of the national pols, but it is kind of childish the way the Council has acted this past year, just saying. I wonder if any of them have ever read the City Charter... It got EP, an "All America City" award - not once, but twice!!!


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