EAST PROVIDENCE — The City Council and the administration of Mayor Bob DaSilva are in the process of beefing up the regulations related to use of East Providence athletic and recreational …
EAST PROVIDENCE — The City Council and the administration of Mayor Bob DaSilva are in the process of beefing up the regulations related to use of East Providence athletic and recreational facilities following some growing concerns over the last few years.
Recreation Department Director Diane Sullivan appeared before the council at its March 7 meeting, providing the body with draft revision of the requirements to pull a permit for field use.
Two specific changes were proposed in the draft presented by Sullivan.
The first was added to the introductory statement of the Rec Department’s “Field/Facility Rules and Regulations”… “Failure to comply may result in fines and/or cancellation of any current or future permits.”
The second was added to a subsection… “4. No subleasing of fields is allowed under any circumstance. Subleasing of fields will result in a Five Hundred Dollar, ($500.00) fine and revocation of all permits.”
The creation of the $500 fine would require the Council to go through the ordinance process for it to become enforceable.
A third addendum was recommended by Ward 2 Councilor Anna Sousa, clearly stating in the rules and regulations the person signing the permit would be the recipient of the fine.
Ward 1 Councilor Frank Rego initially raised the issue. At-Large member and Council President Bob Rodericks also noted his interest in the matter.
Both were quick to say the problem wasn’t with the vast majority of organizations who utilize athletic facilities, but with a limited number who haven’t properly followed permitting guidelines in the recent past.
The “sub-leasing” of the permits is what each said was most concerning.
Sullivan explained currently her department follows what could be termed a “three-strike” penalty policy. Individuals or organizations could be rebuked twice for infractions before any monetary fine was issued.
The director did emphasize, however, sub-leasing of permits was already against policy, that they were non-transferrable. Sullivan, as well, said unauthorized use of fields could also be a drain on the city’s resources and could create liability issues. She called the draft presented to the council a “jumping off point.”
Rego said he approved of the immediate $500 fine rather than the warning policy, adding it “had more bite.”
Rodericks said he wanted to “get the word out that you cannot sub-let fields out,” adding, “99 percent of the leagues in this city are following the rules, but we have reason to want to tighten it up.”
“The important thing of permitting… is to let the staff know on a particular say or weekend there’s a game or a tournament so that they can have trash barrels ready, that they can empty trash barrels, they can line the fields,” Rodericks continued. “They need to know that there’s a tournament, especially on a weekend Saturday, Sunday, long tournaments. That’s the purpose of permitting.”
Sullivan concluded her remarks by saying, “I think this is something that can be enacted quickly,” explaining notifications could be done in time to alert the organizations in time for the start of busy outdoor season over the next several weeks.
City Solicitor Michael Marcello said at the close of the discussion that, according to his reading of the City Charter, the Recreation Department has the ability to update its rules and regulations as officials set fit. He added he would work with the council on the wording of the ordinance to include language regarding the inclusion of a fine.