No keeping secrets from Dottie

Posted 7/8/21

By JOHN HOWELL You can't surprise Dottie McCarthy. At least that's what she says. So, it wasn't surprising she would claim she knew about her "surprise" retirement party a month ago. But sources say otherwise. Under the ruse that they were having drinks

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No keeping secrets from Dottie


You can’t surprise Dottie McCarthy. At least that’s what she says.

So, it wasn’t surprising she would claim she knew about her “surprise” retirement party a month ago.

But sources say otherwise.

Under the ruse that they were having drinks to celebrate Liz Tufts’ birthday, she, Liz and Beverly Hall arrived at County Cork Irish Pub in Oakland Beach Thursday at 5 p.m. in the rain.

Indeed, it’s tough to put one over Dottie, director of the Warwick Board of Canvassers. For starters, her office faces the most frequently used door to City Hall. That surely helped keep her abreast of coming and goings, especially since most regulars to City Hall would at least wave or say hello. But her network is far more extensive.

Dottie is plugged into Warwick, and because she’s plugged in, people love to hear what she has to say. It’s on such occasions that she picks up tidbits such as someone saying, “I hear you’re retiring.”

Dottie thought that was strange since she hadn’t broadcast she would be leaving after 24 years of working for the city. Her friends knew, but outside that immediate circle, how would others know … unless something was afoot?

She was right, although she probably didn’t know for certain.

Dottie’s detective genes went into overdrive the moment they pulled into the parking lot.

Reportedly, she declared, “I know that car, and that car, and that car,” spotting the cars of municipal workers. She knew something was up, which may have taken the shine off the surprise but preserved her reputation of knowing it all.

Once it was apparent everyone was there in her honor, Dottie was in her element. She made the rounds both in the pub and on the terrace where as if on command, the rain stopped. Liz and coconspirator Beverly planned a lavish event with plenty of food and a giant cake to give Dottie a proper sendoff. Dottie feigned annoyance over such attention. When it was her turn to say a few words – she never misses those opportunities – Dottie threw the spotlight on those who worked with her and her mentors over the years.

There were calls for her to stay through another election cycle. That seemed justifiable, as Dottie has “threatened” to leave before. No, she wasn’t going to revoke her decision.

Mayor Frank Picozzi talked about her fair and nonpartisan treatment of candidates and presented a proclamation. When it come to election rules and an individual’s right to vote, Dottie never played favorites. She wouldn’t deviate no matter the rank.

As the party came to a close and people said farewell and seemingly it was all over, there was a surprise.

Maybe since Robert Rock, director of elections in the Secretary of State’s office, and Rob Rapoza, executive director of the Board of Elections, had been there from the start of the party, Dottie hadn’t expected Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea to make an appearance. But Gorbea made it. The best of buddies, they traded stories and talked shop.

Then Gorbea presented a proclamation. It fittingly offered no surprises, summarizing her public service career and declaring, “[I] hereby extend to you my personal thanks and the sincere gratitude and appreciation of the people of the State of Rhode Island for your honorable service and your dedication to our state.”


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