Editorial: Complements to the commission
One can only assume city council president and ceremonial mayor Jim Briden has watched the first few meetings of the East Providence Charter Review Commission with a sense of satisfaction. After all, the formation of the commission has been one of the pillars upon which Mr. Briden constructed his agenda for office. So to witness the body perform in a prudent, pragmatic fashion must provide him some pleasure.
Though its seating was at the urging of the council president, much of the credit for the commission’s initial efficacy and expeditiousness should, no doubt, be bestowed upon chairman Jim Russo. Like Mr. Briden an attorney with ample experience in government, Mr. Russo has steered the direction of the commission with aplomb, highlighting the immediate needs to rectify the charter with the elected mayoral change in governance approved by voters last fall while including all members in the discussion in a collaborative, meaningful way.
As adroitly as the commission has tackled such matters of import during its fledgling sessions over the last month, it’s difficult now to gather why some members of both the city council and the public at large were opposed to its creation. Their reasoning solid and based off the results, or lack thereof, of similar previous incarnations, their worries about the actions of the current grouping have yet to be of concern. And it’s likely better for all involved that a body composed of residents independent of elected offices begin the task of inspection, knowing full well the council as the prevailing entity will have final say of the end product.
The charter review commission still has plenty of critical issues to consider before its run is soon ended. To date, the body should be lauded for its dedication to the cause and its deciphering of the subject matter at hand. We fully expect their professionalism and proficiency to continue for its duration.