RICHMOND — At a ceremony in the council chambers Tuesday, a new Town Council member was sworn in along with four incumbents.
Nell Carpenter, who ran as an unaffiliated candidate and received the greatest number of votes, was sworn in by Town Clerk Sarah Rapose. The remaining council members, Gary Wright, Richard Nassaney, Ronald Newman and Paul Michaud, were sworn in by state Sen. Elaine Morgan, R-Ashaway.
The newly seated council quickly chose Wright as president and Nassaney as vice president. Members also thanked outgoing Councilor Mark Trimmer, who pledged to remain involved in town government by serving on boards and commissions.
In his report to the council, Chief of Police Elwood Johnson announced that popular Chariho School Resource Officer Anthony Zoglio, who has served the district for 11 years, will be leaving Richmond to take a similar position in South Kingstown.
“Our school resource officer, Tony Zoglio, was enticed by the Town of South Kingstown, the South Kingstown Police Department, to leave Richmond and go there on a lateral transfer,” he said. “This is something that is very common nowadays.”
Johnson said that with fewer applicants for school resource positions, police departments are raiding departments in other towns.
“Police departments now are actually aggressively targeting people to jump ship, come over and start within a couple of weeks in a new department, and for better benefits,” he said. “It really comes down to benefits.”
Zoglio is expected to leave Richmond in the new year. Johnson said he already had someone in mind who might take his place after undergoing the necessary training.
In other business, Public Works Director Scott Barber said the recent snowfall and frequent rainy days had delayed the town’s paving projects, which must be completed before winter.
“We are extremely far behind,” he said. “Since Labor Day, I think we’ve counted 24 or 25 rain days that have affected our work schedule, so we are really behind the 8-ball.”
Barber said he hoped to finish paving the road in the White Oak development this week, and next week complete work on Kenyon Schoolhouse Road and Punchbowl Trail.
“We’re coming right down to the wire on this,” he said.
Carpenter brought up an issue she championed during her election campaign, which involves issuing town email addresses to council members.
Councilors’ personal email addresses are currently listed on the town’s website and Newman asked why Carpenter believed that new addresses were necessary.
“This may cost us money,” Newman said.
Finance Director Kelli Russ said town emails would cost approximately $250 per year for the five councilors, but she added that the town could also have to pay for the IT work to allow councilors to connect to the town’s network.
“In order to get it on your computer, you’d have to access our server and then we can get our IT people to possibly program something on your computer. So that’s where the real cost would be,” she said.
Carpenter said town email addresses would appear more transparent and professional.
“This would create a level of transparency that currently doesn’t exist right now, and it’s a great step forward, in my opinion,” she said.
The council agreed to revisit the matter when the cost had been more thoroughly researched. Carpenter said she would request a town email address whether or not the other council members wanted them.
“In the event that the council doesn’t want to, as a body, vote for that, I would like that for myself,” she said.