Solomon taps retired Providence fire marshal as Warwick chief

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For the first time in the history of the Warwick Fire Department, the mayor has reached outside the ranks of the department to name a chief.

Tonight, the Board of Public Safety is expected to approve Mayor Joseph Solomon’s selection of Peter K. McMichael, retired Providence Fire Department fire marshal, as chief of the Warwick department.

Solomon said Monday that in anticipation of his appointment, McMichael has met with Michael Carreiro, president of the Warwick Firefighters Union, as well as other members of the department.

“We look forward to it…heard good things about him,” Carreiro said. He acknowledged this would be the department’s first chief not to have climbed the ranks through the department. “I respect the mayor’s decision,” he said.

A resident of Cumberland, McMichael will succeed Marcel Fontenault, who served as acting chief since last May when former Mayor Scott Avedisian resigned to become the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Transit Authority and, within days, James McLaughlin retired as chief.

In recent weeks, Solomon said he had received inquiries about the chief’s position from inside and outside the department and was waiting for the right candidate.

“I connected with him [McMichael] through the professional circle, more or less. People knew that Warwick didn’t have someone of a permanent nature right now, and then when the current acting chief indicated that he was going to retire, I pushed the issue more, grabbed résumés, and this one here, I sat down with this gentleman, and I’m very pleased with what I see,” Solomon said.

McMichael started his career with Providence Fire in 1988. As fire marshal, he was the commanding officer of all operations of the Providence Fire Prevention Bureau. He is a graduate of Roger Williams University, where he received his Master of Public Administration degree. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams and an associate’s degree in fire service from Providence College.

Prior to being named fire marshal, McMichael held positions as captain of the Fire Prevention Bureau/Arson Squad and first lieutenant.

Solomon said neither the topics of pay nor a contract were brought up in his job interview with McMichael.

“I’ve got to say, all my directors are here without contracts, and that’s the faith they have in me, that’s the faith and love and dedication they have to the community, and that, in and of itself, is a positive fact there,” the mayor said.

Solomon added that when he talked to McMichael and others serving in leadership positions, “It’s not about contracts, it’s about trust. It’s about the ability to do the job and it’s about your dedication to the community, and whether it be the public works director, to the colonel of the police, or deputy chief of the police, and in this society, that says something about the character of the people that I’m bringing on board.”

Solomon said his directors are not only qualified, “but their heart and soul are in the right place to perform the tasks that they’ve been brought on to perform.”

As for the rate of pay, Solomon did not have an amount but said it would be what is in the budget.

“But again, it’s not about money and contracts, it’s about wanting to do the job,” he said.

Asked about pay for unused sick time, lack of a contract and issues swirling around the department, including an unconfirmed inquiry by the FBI, Solomon said those issues are in arbitration. Also, he said that Fontenault has prepared and briefed McMichael on a 2019-20 budget.

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Daydreambeliever

“I connected with him through the professional circle” more or less ?????

You mean his wife’s in-laws are related to you. I believe cosuins wow nepotism and favors at its best.

As for resumes you lying sack of excrement you didn’t take any so stop with the theatrics.

Also this Chief has zero, zilch, nada one ounce of administrative work in his resume.

All Solomon, Block, Ladocuer, Merolla and Robert ever said was we don’t need a firefighter we need an administrator well guess boys your buddy Joe just stuck it up ur wazoo.

He worked in Providence is from Cumberland knows not one thing about this city and department and never paid one cent in taxes here. Thanks Joe !!!

Tuesday, March 12
Daydreambeliever

First move naming his second cousin Provençhal to Board of Public Safety next move McMIchael to Chief of Fire.

Who else from the family you owe a favor to Joe ?

Tuesday, March 12
Harry from Hoxsie

Is Joe Serious, this guy has ZERO administrative experience, now he’s going to run a 22 million department. He is a friend/family member of Solomon. How is this ok? This mayor is killing this city.

Tuesday, March 12
TPC

GO AWAY JOE!

Tuesday, March 12
PaulHuff

"It’s about the ability to do the job and it’s about your dedication to the community"

LOL. This guy...who seems to have limited administrative experience has zero ties to the community. He's a Providence fireman who lives in Cumberland.

Those ties run deep

And I find it hard to "trust" the used car dealer. These guys should all ask for contracts.

Tuesday, March 12
Jimmy

Funny, not one guy within the department ever was asked to submit their resume. I guess it wasn’t part of Joes agenda.

Tuesday, March 12
Daydreambeliever

Neither the topics of pay or contract were brought up in the interview ?? Who is he kidding does he actually want us to believe this malarkey ???? What idiot wouldn't talk about that ???

It's not about contracts, it's about trust and dedication to the community and whether the public work director (Solitro lives in Burriville), Colonel of PD (Rathbun lives in Massachusetts's) and now McMichael (lives in Cumberland) says something about the character I'm bringing on board.

Joe your a flat out liar those are all $120k or more a year jobs.

The best is there faith and love for the community ....NONE of them LIVE HERE never have !!!!

They don't care about this community if so they would have relocated here. It's flat out just a good paying job plain and simple.

What a buffoon one term and get rid of him. He and Merolla deflect. deflect, deflect and it's all Avedesian's fault. Well maybe that's true but these 2 morons have just as long a tenure and are part of the problem and need to go also.

Tuesday, March 12
richard corrente

Solomon said it best when he said "It's all about trust". Obviously, the better he knows someone, the greater the trust.

So, like every Mayor before him, he will hire people he knows and "trusts". Nothing wrong with that. I think I will wait-and-see if McMichael does a good job or a bad one before I decide. I wish the critics would too. Sometimes they are way to quick to judge. That hurts Warwick.

Happy St. Patricks Chief McMichael. Congratulations. Welcome to Warwick.

Happy St. Patricks everyone.

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, March 12
Jimmy

Richard,

There are plenty of extremely qualified people within the department. That know the department that won’t be making $220000 ($120,000 salary plus $100,000 pension) a year to be a Chief in a city he knows nothing about. ZERO ADMIN EXPERIENCE

Tuesday, March 12
davebarry

Hey Jimmy and Daydreambeliever....why would Solomon pick someone from inside the department when the FBI is investigating them? How would he know if he was picking someone who benefited form the scheme of sick time or not? What else may they be involved in. No, when your house is on fire (no pun intended) you bring help from the outside.

Tuesday, March 12
Daydreambeliever

Dave where has it been said that the fire department is being investigated ?

What’s has been said by Solomon and Merolla is they’ve been questioned but they have never said about what so why are you speculating?

As for inside or outside Chief i truly don’t care but bring in someone with administrative skills not a captain from another city with none.

He won’t solve a damn thing but I’m sure will sound just like Solomon and Merolla and lay blame on the previous chiefs for as long as he’s the chief.

As I’ve said all along as has Jimmy release the results of the audit letting us all know one way or the other if there were any wrongdoings.

Tuesday, March 12
Jimmy

There are ZERO investigations into the fire department. It maybe hard for some to grasp but it’s true. They will have to admit that at some point.

Tuesday, March 12
wwkvoter

I wonder if the FBI somehow had something to do with this choice? These investigations can go in all kinds of directions...

Tuesday, March 12
richard corrente

Dear jimmy,

I agree with you.

If I was elected Mayor, I would hire-from-within. Solomon decided not to and, if you remember, Col. McCartney was also hired from outside. That decision turned out to be spectacular, so I think we should cut this new guy some slack. If he's good, you and I should say so. If he makes bad decisions, we should torch him, but I'm going to have a wait-and-see attitude. I think you should too. Union President Mike Carreiro welcomed him with kind words. Until and unless McMichael shows he doesn't deserve it, I will as well. How about you?

Happy almost-St.-Patricks-Day jimmy.

Happy almost-St.-Patricks-Day everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Wednesday, March 13
Warwick citizen

Wow , what a joke!!! This guy was a captain has no administrative experience.

My question is what happened to the fire Union? Just rolled over.

Wednesday, March 13
Daydreambeliever

Warwick Citizen the Mayor appoints the Chief of Department as well as Assistant Chiefs.

The union has no say.

The Mayor can apoint anyone of his choosing no matter what experience they have in any given field.

Wednesday, March 13
Warwickcitizen

Thanks for the lesson Daydreambeleiver, There are plenty of qualified men and women inside the department. Thats who the union should be fighting for not rolling over.

Wednesday, March 13
wwkvoter

I can say this, when a city department is embroiled in controversy such as our FD, sometimes the best way to get confidence and integrity back is to bring in outside leadership. That happens all the time. If the new outside-hired chief says "we got this fixed and that revamped" it holds a lot more water with the public. I'd say this *could* be a good step to move forward and past these issues.

Wednesday, March 13
Bob_Cushman

Contrary to a previous post that indicated that the Mayor "can apoint anyone of his choosing no matter what experience they have in any given field", that is not true.

Back in 2007 I proposed a change to the practice that stipulated that the chief had to be appointed from within the department to allow a mayor to address the current situation that is occuring in this department by appointing a chief regardless if his experience was in the city fire deparment.

That resulted in two ordinances being changed.

Here is the first:

SECTION I. Section 43 of Chapter 20 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Warwick is hereby amended as follows:

Sec. 20-43. Appointments of officers to be made from ranks of department.

All future appointments of officers of the fire department, other than chief of the department shall be from within the ranks of such department.

The second one indicates how much experience the appointed fire chief must have.

Sec. 20-44. Experience requirements for officers.

The fire chief shall have at least ten years of experience in firefighting in any fire department. Deputy chiefs shall have ten years of experience in the city fire department, and battalion chiefs shall have seven years of firefighting experience in the city fire department. This section is only applicable to initial appointments.

Wednesday, March 13
Jimmy

Anyone notice something similar about EVERY Cushman comment, both here and Facebook? They all are “I did this”. “I said this” “I proposed this”. Never in the history of Pat on the backs has one guy deserved more. Pat, Pat, Pat.... BRAVO

Wednesday, March 13
Bob_Cushman

Welcome Chief McMichael and best of luck!

Pat Pat Pat! Bravo!

Thursday, March 14
Jimmy

Cushman The Mayor swore him on as Acting” Chief McMichael.. you got his title wrong.

Thursday, March 14
Samuel

Jimmy Cushman takes credit for everything except when he was on the school committee and rammed thru the most lucrative contract in the city's history which has cost the city tens of millions, just so the contract would be resolved while he ran for city council.

Thursday, March 14
patientman

"A resident of Cumberland, McMichael will succeed Marcel Fontenault, who served as acting chief since last May when former Mayor Scott Avedisian resigned to become the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Transit Authority and, within days, James McLaughlin retired as chief."

"Within days"

Knowing what we know now about unratified side deals Fontenaults retirement makes a lot of sense. I wonder if Chief Fontenault has been interviewed by the FBI.

Good luck to the new Chief and the department.

Friday, March 15
Jimmy

Patientman,

Chief Fontenault was not ready to leave. The mayor pushed him out the door. And the FBI thing is funny...

Friday, March 15
Bob_Cushman

Back in 2007 when I left school committee the school budget was $157,767,951. Today it is $165,391,929, for a difference of $$7.6 million more in 12 years. A 4.8% increase in spending.

In 2007 Sammy your job funded through the city budget, was funded at $114,150,009. Today it is $150,932,468, for a difference of $36,782,459. A 32.2% increase in spending.

In terms of local property tax dollars allocated to each budget during that time, schools went from $118,064,827 to $123,982,963 for a total increase of $5,918,136 or 5% increase.

City went from $67,056,675 to $112,067,997 for a total increase of $45,011,322 or 67% increase.

Why Sammy is it ok for employee benefits for you and your pals to increase from 2007 to today by $30.6 million and city kids are left with peanuts? I guess Sammy you just hates kids.

Maybe Sammy it might be time to put down your abacus because the real math doesn't support your argument.

Friday, March 15
Samuel

Hey Cushman do you ever stop lying and try to cover it up with numbers? Since 2007 how many less employees and schools are there in the school department? You sold out the city for your political aspirations, which totaled one whole term on the city council and then the voters of your ward fired you just like the Cranston city council did before. Now let's hear you cry how Avedisian targeted you to get you out of office. What a laugh, if that could be done he would have gotten rid of Solomon or some of the others before he worried about a gnat like you. And I don't work for the city, never have. I know that you and Stacia like to believe that everyone that disagrees with you works for the city or is a "crony" but the fact of the matter is that an enormous majority of the city doesn't care nor do they believe what either of you have to say.

Friday, March 15
wwkvoter

"an enormous majority of the city doesn't care nor do they believe what either of you have to say" - sammuel

Unfortunately for Samuel, what Cushman has had to say for years, is NOW RATIFIED by our new mayor in Warwick's first state of the city address. and new council president, and news reports.

And as to that "enormous majority of voters" I agree they haven't cared because most people are self-interested and put 0/0% into their own city civics, and dont have a clue. ONLY when it directly affects them will they care. It is about to directly affect them.

Saturday, March 16
Samuel

wwkvoter you completely miss my point. Cushman was in a position to do something about it, maybe get the ball rolling or set precedent on other municipal contracts but he completely sold out for his own political aspirations. How is that any different from all these other politicians. He is a hypocrite. And don't accuse citizens of not caring. Maybe they just care about different things. Maybe taxes aren't the focus of their lives, maybe it's raising children, coaching soccer, doing charity work, being a scout leader et

5 days ago