August 31, 2011

Dawn of the Dead? Susan Menard Pulls Papers

Monique Chartier

On the last day to do so, Former Mayor Susan Menard has filed declaration papers for the office of mayor. (Woonsocket has off year elections.)

It should be noted that pulling papers is only a first step to running for office. The Valley Breeze correctly points out that

Critics of Menard may wonder, however, if 2011 will be a repeat of the last election cycle in Woonsocket when, despite filing declaration papers in August, she failed to turn in a nomination petition.

Critics of Ms. Menard wonder about lots of other things, too. Let the questions for the candidate fly.

If elected mayor, will Ms. Menard

- Continue her practice of handing out no-bid city contracts to friends and family (copiers, for example, not to mention motorcycles)?

- Continue her practice of handing out generous but illegal benefit packages to favored staffers without obtaining authorization from the City Council?

- Revive her policy of promoting rather than firing racists?

- Reinstall secret recording equipment in the mayor's office? If yes, and the City Council moves to investigate, will she once again attempt to impede their lawful investigation into such potentially unlawful action?

- Once again cop a plea in the event that the Ethics Commission once again tags her with questionable (to say the least) conduct?

- Sign an Executive Order that, thenceforth, city employees are forbidden to run personal errands for the mayor? If not, why not?

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Wait, what??? Some could argue that she was a far worse mayor than David Cicilline and it was just a matter of time that she was led out of city hall in handcuffs. She now has a problem with the way Leo is running things? Finally, someone putting fiscal responsibility into that city and she wants to go in and mess all that up? She's right up there with Charlie Moreau for borderline criminal mayors.

If she's elected, I'll start a campaign to force Woonsocket to secede from the state. Put them in Mass or let them be their own state. If those voters are dumb enough to replace Leo with her, I don't want to pay a dime toward that city any more!

Posted by: Patrick at August 31, 2011 8:55 AM

I'm no fan of Menard by any means but the 'generous benefits packages' for directors were in place long before she took office. Let's hope the voters of Woonsocket aren't pursuaded by freebie chicken dinners...

Posted by: JTR at August 31, 2011 9:31 AM

"the 'generous benefits packages' for directors were in place long before she took office."

So what did she do to end them? It's like when the left now likes to say "the Bush tax cuts were extended". No, the extension makes them the "Obama tax cuts". If Menard did nothing to end bad contracts, she owns 'em.

Posted by: Patrick at August 31, 2011 9:39 AM

Hi, JTR:

Certainly, no one politician in Rhode Island has the corner on handing out excessively generous benefit packages. That's why we're in such fiscal hot water.

However, the former mayor took it to another level during her tenure. The link on that item (copied below) is to a court case. The court ruled against Mayor Menard, in part as follows (emphasis added):

This Court also finds, as argued by the City Council, that Dionne is not legally entitled to his claimed benefits under the Benefits Agreement with the former Mayor because the Woonsocket City Council never ratified that Agreement or approved such benefits legislatively, and the benefits awarded violate the Woonsocket City Charter and Ordinances, thereby rendering the Agreement ultra vires.

All of the legal benefit packages in this state are bad enough. Let's not add to them with wholly illegal ones.

Posted by: Monique at August 31, 2011 10:35 AM

She should own it and it would be bad for the Woon if she is re-elected. I'm merely pointing out that there is a difference between continuing (an albeit bad) practice and implementing it. Sue must be sick of paying for her own healthcare and car to even think of making a return.

Posted by: JTR at August 31, 2011 10:35 AM

Monique - it was not the practice for the council to ratify any of the directors contracts until this became an issue with Dionne. Again, I'm merely pointing out that Menard continued a practice that had long been in place in Woonsocket. There were (and probably still are) a number of former directors that are receiving healthcare for life based on agreements that were never ratified by the council (illegal).

Posted by: JTR at August 31, 2011 10:41 AM

Thank you for the background, JTR.

Posted by: Monique at August 31, 2011 2:28 PM

What has this present Administration done to attract new and innovative industry to Woonsocket, as businesses continue to leave our city, further shrinking our tax base.

Do we want this present Mayor and Council re elected? I do not think so! They have not shown any creative thought process to re-vitalize Woonsocket, and will increase our taxes to make up for their lack of ability to stop the outward flow, or attract new business to Woonsocket.

Wal Mart is leaving in September, who will be next? Do you want to make up that tax loss?
We need Susan Menard to follow through and run at this election, so that the voters could have a choice. It would make the present Mayor explain why the City has gone downhill since the last election.

Posted by: George King at September 1, 2011 8:39 AM

The poor condition that Woonsocket finds itself can equally be attributed to Sue and Leo...Sue was mayor for 14 years and Leo was on the council for 16 years, many as council president. It's unfortunate that no one with fresh ideas is willing to jump into the fray but given the state of affairs I guess it's not surprising. Good luck (to the citizens of Woon.)

Posted by: JTR at September 1, 2011 10:43 AM

You have got to be kidding me !! we need Menard back like we need a hole in the head, and never mind all the corruption .. She herself raised taxes EVERY year for the last years she was in and she even proposed a SUPPLEMENTALTAX BILL in her last years.. She is not the wonder she lead people to believe .. The corruption only made it worse and if people put her back in they deserve what they get.

Posted by: JJH at September 1, 2011 7:26 PM

Well, if this is what we are presented with at the local level, we will have very little in the way of choices all the way around. LOCAL: Menard vs. Fountaine. STATE: Chaffee vs. Robitaille. FEDERAL: Obama vs. Any number of bad choices. At what point do you stand at the voter booth, chuckle inside, and choose the lesser of all the evils.

Monique: The true cause of the pension mess is the failure of the cities and towns to actually contribute to the funds over the past twenty years. Fraud is rampant I'll agree, but we would have never known about it if not for the Billions that were never put in by the municipalities. All in the name of lower tax bills? Good Luck

Posted by: John C at September 2, 2011 11:44 AM

I guess people have the attitude of letting by gones being by gones, or just forgetting altogether,its like a bad relationship splitting for a few years then getting back together, most wouldn't recommend it. In this case Susan did a way better job than Leo is or is trying to do, and for him to " run " for a 2nd term is beyond me. He should 1st look for a ratings scale to see if he even has a chance, i'd say he doesn't. And as far as Susan Menard, she knows that she has alot of supporters and she also know she has no competitors, thats the only reason she will run, not because she wants to do good for the city, but to " repeat " the process again and didn't get into any trouble for it. Anybody would. Steve Lima, I think you need to put something together to atleast give these 2 " corrupt " conspiritors some competition.

Posted by: Dean at September 3, 2011 8:23 AM
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