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Richmond welcomes new town administrator

RICHMOND — In a ceremony that took less than a minute, Robert Basler Rock became the town’s new administrator.

Rock replaces Steve Sette, who left last April to take a town coordinator job in Hopedale, Mass.

The first several rows of chairs in the council chambers were filled with Rock’s many well-wishers, including nine family members and several former colleagues from the elections division of the Rhode Island Secretary of State’s office where he worked for eight years before accepting the Richmond job.

“I look forward to working here in the town of Richmond, I would like to thank the council for the opportunity, and I’m excited to get going,” he said.

Town Clerk Tracy Hay, who conducted the swearing-in ceremony at the start of Tuesday’s town council meeting, said she had known Rock from working with him during elections, and she was pleased to welcome him to the town. “I’ve known Rob for about eight years, so it was a privilege to swear him in,” she said.

Rock, 30, lives in East Providence and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rhode Island. He is just a few credits short of his master’s degree in public administration, also at URI.

Although he had only had one night to make the transition from his former job to his new career, he said he had already gotten his feet wet in the new position.

“I went to the municipal finance seminar in Providence from 9 to 11 today, and then came down to the office to get started going through some emails, reading up on some of the stuff going on in town. I’m real excited to get started,” he said.

Town Council President B. Joseph Reddish said he was both pleased and relieved to have Rock on board.

“He jumped in feet first to get involved,” Reddish said. “He started last week, really. He’s already attended the Carolina Fire Association meeting and attended some of the commission meetings. So we’re excited that he is ready to roll. He’s full of questions, which is a good thing, and he’s very energetic and ready to make a difference for the town of Richmond. ... It is a relief. It frees up council to manage the policies and for the staff to have a day-to-day person to go to when they need something.”

Rock said he had his family to thank for preparing him for this big step in his career.

“My parents and my sister, they’re the reason why I’m here today,” he said. “They’ve raised me very well. I owe it all to them. I really do.”

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