Council Good and Welfare is a vague, nontransparent agenda item,” said Kithes. “It is unnecessary to the functioning of the council, risks regular violations of the Open Meetings Act, and is now frivolously costing our taxpayers money. It’s time to eliminate Good and Welfare of the Council in the spirit of good, open, transparent government, and to protect our city from further costly litigation and penalties.


Woonsocket City Councilmember Alex Kithes has introduced two key governmental transparency and accountability measures to be voted on at Monday’s regular meeting of the Woonsocket City Council.

The first, 20.R.06, would remove ‘Good and Welfare’ of the City Council from the council’s agenda of business going forward. This move comes after a report in late December that the Rhode Island Attorney General‘s office has filed a lawsuit (OM 19-44) against the Woonsocket City Council. The council is being accused of repeatedly violating the state’s Open Meetings Act, in conversations that took place during Good and Welfare of the Council at three separate meetings last year.

“Council Good and Welfare is a vague, nontransparent agenda item,” said Kithes. “It is unnecessary to the functioning of the council, risks regular violations of the Open Meetings Act, and is now frivolously costing our taxpayers money. It’s time to eliminate Good and Welfare of the Council in the spirit of good, open, transparent government, and to protect our city from further costly litigation and penalties.”

Citizens would continue to be welcomed and encouraged to speak on any topic they wish during Citizens Good and Welfare. And any council member who wishes to speak on a specific topic can have it explicitly added to the agenda, so the citizens are clearly informed in advance about what their elected officials will be discussing.

The second measure, 20.R.07, would update the city’s website to include direct links to the campaign finance reports of every elected official that represents any or all citizens of Woonsocket – from the School Committee, all the way up to the President. “This type of transparency is something that I was asked to work on over and over at the doors, while campaigning for my election last summer,” said Kithes. “People want to know who is bankrolling their politicians, and the state and federal campaign finance databases aren’t the easiest sites to use.”

The agenda and the text of both resolutions can be found here.

[From a press release]

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