By JOHN HOWELL The names are a secret for the moment, but Richard Cascella, Republican City Committee chairman, is hopeful of fielding a complete set of candidates to challenge incumbent Democratic City Council members and Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. "e;It's
The names are a secret for the moment, but Richard Cascella, Republican City Committee chairman, is hopeful of fielding a complete set of candidates to challenge incumbent Democratic City Council members and Mayor Joseph J. Solomon.
“It’s a good complement of candidates,” Cascella said Wednesday when asked for a report of the GOP meeting Saturday at state Republican headquarters at Airport Plaza.
Cascella said he is reasonably certain of six council candidates – there are nine seats – and “we still have a few others.” As for mayor, he said, “two have expressed interest but there’s no firm commitment.”
Cascella was reluctant to release any names until individuals actually submit their declaration papers.
He’s also planned for that. He has asked for candidates to make appointments Monday morning to file papers with Dottie McCarthy, director of the Board of Canvassers, so as to allow enough time for her to certify their eligibility to run before the deadline on Wednesday at 4 p.m. McCarthy would then issue on June 30 nomination papers to garner the required number of signatures – 200 registered voters for mayor and 50 for council – to be listed on the ballot. Candidates have until July 10 to return the papers and the Board of Canvassers has until July 16 to certify them.
“A mayor and new City Council would be awesome for Warwick,” Cascella said.
Cascella accuses the council of “going along to get along” and refusing to address municipal employee and fire and police contracts as well as costs such as health care benefits for retirees.
“The people who are leading us should think of the taxpayer first and step up and make the hard decisions,” he said.
He said the council just “slides things along” and is in “lockstep with the mayor.”
As for the mayor, he said when he first took office Solomon said that former Mayor Scott Avedisian left the city in a far worse financial position than the $21 million he claimed was in city reserves and that the amount was more like $10 million to $11 million. Cascella notes the audit as of last June shows the city with a $31.2 million surplus.
Cascella said he isn’t accusing Solomon of lying, adding, “he can’t figure what end is up.”
He was also critical of the administration’s borrowing of $10 million to make road repairs that he considers short-term improvements. He said the city should be looking at its water system and using bonding to ensure that infrastructure doesn’t fail.
As for the no tax increase budget and using reserves to make it work, he said the council is “just setting up the mayor to be a hero.”
Asked about candidates for state Senate and House seats, Cascella said the party’s efforts are focused on the council and mayor.
With City Hall being closed because of COVID-19, those seeking to obtain and file declaration papers need to make an appointment. Cascella said declaration papers were obtained online and distributed, so he expects to release the names of the candidates once they have filed on Monday.