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Woonsocket City Councilor James Cournoyer responds to Kithes interview



The solicitor was not unsure about anything. Quite the contrary, he was absolutely sure, as, apparently unlike you, he can read the English language.

Someone sent me a link to the silly, self-serving, uninformed echo-chamber interview you did with your friend Steve Ahlquist from UpriseRI.

Not that facts and reality ever get in the way of one of your good stories or that UpriseRI would even attempt to pretend that they are a legitimate source of unbiased news and reporting by speaking to anyone else referenced in their story besides you, I thought I might inform you nonetheless of a few important items:

  1. The City Solicitor, not Alex Kithes or the Attorney General, decides all questions and controversies relative to any and all laws affecting the city. From our City Charter: “The city solicitor shall decide all questions and controversies relative to the legal construction of any and all laws and ordinances affecting the city…” So, please spare us all the political whining when the solicitor does his job. Also, your nonsense that the solicitor did not contact that Attorney General after the Attorney General suggested that “the solicitor should run things by them to get an opinion if he is unsure as to whether or not agenda items are considered essential business” is just that – nonsense. The solicitor was not unsure about anything. Quite the contrary, he was absolutely sure, as, apparently unlike you, he can read the English language. And by the way, the Executive Order did not refer to “essential business”. Rather, it addresses “essential purposes”.
  2. The Governor’s Executive Order, 20-05, which the Council was operating under was very clear. The City Council could hold remote meetings via electronic means for “essential purposes” only. The Order defined “essential purposes” as “that which is necessary for continued government operations or to ensure compliance with statutory or regulatory deadlines.” The Governor’s order did not define “essential purposes” to mean “whatever Alex Kithes deems it to be”. Like it or not, none of your proposals met the definition of being “necessary for continued government operations,” no matter how much you jump up and down and pout to the likes of Steve Ahlquist. The reality is that you and your friends would be the first ones to file an Open Meetings Act complaints if the Council took up your proposals in light of the explicit language of the Governor’s then executive order.
  3. Your proposal in connection with conditioning the deferral of fees and interest on whether or not an eviction took place was duly considered, discussed, deliberated and rejected for good and valid reasons, as discussed in the below April 7 email.
  4. The Governor has since issued a new Executive Order removing the condition of “essential purposes,” so now your proposals are included in the next meeting’s Agenda.
  5. I look forward to seeing the evidence supporting the following allegation made by you and printed by UpriseRI: “there is a legitimate death toll associated with the fact that these took two weeks to be taken up.”

In closing, I will note that during these challenging times it is so very comforting to know that Alex Kithes is looking out and fighting for all the victims that Alex Kithes has identified.

In solidarity,
Jim (He, Him, Sir, Mr)

About the Author

James Cournoyer is a Woonsocket City Councilor.