Boyle leaves East Providence for Pawtucket position

Will become neighboring city's director of commerce


EAST PROVIDENCE — Jeanne Boyle is leaving her position as Planning Department director for the city to take over as the new director of commerce in Pawtucket. Her last day is supposed to be June 21. Ms. Boyle will earn a salary of $105,000.

The move was announced in a letter sent to the Pawtucket City Council by Mayor Donald Grebien dated May 15. Ms. Boyle departs East Providence after 27 years working in the Planning Department, most of that tenure serving as its director. Ms. Boyle also held the title of Executive Director for the East Providence Waterfront District Commission since that body’s inception in 2004.

According to Mayor Grebien’s letter, Ms. Boyle will be tasked with leading Pawtucket’s “economic development efforts, administer economic development and job creation programs, and assist in the attraction of new businesses and retention of existing businesses. The Director will be working closely with the economic development agencies, business and community organizations, as well as the state and federal government to promote and maximize resources available for economic development efforts. In addition, a major focus will be on an effective marketing strategy to bring awareness and attract businesses to Pawtucket.”

Ms. Boyle’s decision to leave East Providence surprised and saddened some in the city, including Waterfront Commission Acting Chairman Bill Fazioli.

Mr. Fazioli also authored a letter on the subject directed to his commission peers. It read in part, “With some very mixed feelings I wanted to let you know that Jeanne Boyle has informed that she has resigned as Planning Director for the City to take a position with the City of Pawtucket. As we all know Jeanne has been a driving force for the City for almost 30 years and was instrumental in the development of the Waterfront Commission. Much of our success is directly attributable to her efforts, dedication and vision. We will miss her professionally but also personally as well. Her guidance during the formative years of the Commission was invaluable which has resulted in many of the projects that are now blooming within the District.”

East Providence City Councilman Joe Botelho likewise expressed his disappointment over the loss of Ms. Boyle. Mr. Botelho was re-elected to the council from Ward 3 last year but had previously represented the district on the body back in 1990 when Ms. Boyle was hired into the Planning Department.

“Jeanne has a brilliant mind. She has a lot of institutional knowledge about the city that we will miss. It was shocking to hear that she was leaving,” Mr. Botelho said. “Through thick and thin, she was able to get things done in this city, which isn’t always easy. I’ve talked to a lot of developers who have told me they would not be here if it were not for Jeanne.”

Ms. Boyle departs East Providence having helped reinvigorate development of the city’s waterfront, which had been stunted by the “Great Recession of 2008.” Her efforts have been at the fore of increased activity at the shoreline in recent years, including the Kettle Point development currently well on its way to fruition.

Mr. Botelho said the council was made aware of Ms. Boyle's decision through correspondence by City Manager Tim Chapman, who is tasked with finding a suitable replacement. The current Planning Department staff includes a number of potential qualified candidates to serve the position on either a permanent or interim basis including James Moran, Economic Planner; Diane Feather, Chief Planner; Patrick Hanner, Senior Planner; and Wayne Barnes, Senior Planner/Deputy EMA Director.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.