Solomon measures would track, keep inventory of city purchases
Two ordinances relative to city-owned equipment gained second passage at Monday night’s City Council meeting by 8-1 votes, with Ward 5 Councilman John DelGiudice abstaining, as he was not present for first passage on Nov. 14. Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon authored both measures aimed at keeping track of city equipment and purchases.
Under one measure, the city would annually document all purchases of tangible items greater than $1,000 and their respective locations. Solomon said the goal of the ordinance is to obtain more control on larger assets and to establish physical inventory on a more formal basis.
A related ordinance requires the city to perform an annual audit of tangible purchases such as computers, tools, vehicles and other items that exceed the amount of $1,000.
“It keeps honest people honest and will make dishonest people to think twice before they do any dishonest acts,” he said at the meeting. “This isn’t the result of anything recently happening in the news.”
He was referring to the felony larceny charge of the Warwick Public Works employee Kenneth R. Naylor, 47, who was found with an estimated $2,000 worth of city equipment he claimed to be “borrowing” in September. Items included an assortment of cast iron pipe and plumbing parts; a chain saw; a five-gallon gas can filled to capacity; two trash receptacles; and several tools.
Solomon said he hopes to use technology from the Warwick Fire Department, such as handheld barcode scanners, to kept track of new equipment.
Further, an ordinance relative to awarding contracts to the lowest qualified bidder also reached second passage. Solomon, who also authored this ordinance, said at the meeting he came up with the idea as a means to show vendors that the city operates on due process relative to soliciting the lowest bids and won’t select a bid just because it’s the lowest. He feels it will encourage the lowest bidders to come before the council so the council can explain why they were not selected for certain projects.
Ward 8 Councilman Raymond Gallucci, who heads the Finance Committee and voted “yes” on the matter, said the ordinance is perplexing, as the Finance Committee usually awards business to the lowest bidder unless they have proven to be irresponsible.
Solomon pointed out that the committee doesn’t award bids. Rather, Gallucci makes a recommendation to the full council, who then makes a vote.
Also, Solomon said there are occasions where the lowest bidder isn’t selected and neither the bidder, nor the department director, is available at meetings to answer questions of the council. He reiterated his feeling that the ordinance would encourage low bidders to attend meetings, as well as place bids.
“People aren’t even bothering to bid and we’re coming in with one bid on particular items,” he said. “That tells you something. In this economy, people are hungry and they are grasping for business. I find it unusual that they are not bidding and I think we’re going to see more participation.”
Another ordinance relative to traffic and safety improvement measures in and around Greenwood School, authored by Ward 7 Councilman Charles “C.J.” Donovan, unanimously reached first passage with an amendment that prohibits parking on both sides of Greenwood Avenue in the area surrounding the school from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Parking would also be prohibited from 8 to 9 a.m.
Donovan said he has worked with the school, as well as the police and fire departments, to better ensure the protection of children as they are entering and exiting the property.
Principal Dennis Winn attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of the ordinance, saying 150 to 175 children walk on Greenwood Avenue at dismissal time. He believes the ordinance would significantly increase safety, especially in the winter months when the road is narrowed from snow.
Other business included DelGiudice’s resolution that asks the Planning Department to research the availability of grant money for a Meadowview Avenue bicycle path. The road, which connects to Palmer Avenue, is near Rocky Point Park and would make for a nice addition to the area, said DelGiudice. It was unanimously approved.
The council also approved village zoning for Conimicut Village after it was amended, as the owner of plat 317, lot 116 requested to be added to the project. Solomon introduced the ordinance on behalf of Mayor Scott Avedisian.
In addition, an ordinance in regards to altering the elected official pension fund unanimously reached first passage with an amendment to increase the number of years of service from six to 10; and a resolution to temporarily suspend property taxes charged for additions to existing commercial and residential structures was denied.
Finally, a resolution for a Warwick pool pass discount for disabled veterans was collectively approved. The charge for a yearly pool pass from September to August was reduced from $150 to $80, while the monthly pass went from $20 to $10. Ward 3 Councilwoman Camille Vella-Wilkinson authored the three above-mentioned pieces of legislation.