East Providence News Briefs
City Council Actions Last Month
Council Holds Off on Immediate Hiring/Spending Freeze
A suggestion by councilman at-large Bob Rodericks to enact a temporary hiring and spending freeze on all non-emergency, non-essential items was put on hold as the council will review a budget watchdog process instead. “It is an appropriate time to send a message to the community that because this global pandemic has affected us so severely that we need to address its financial impact right away,” said Rodericks. “Health and safety are the number one concerns but our economy has been damaged so that people and communities and businesses are suffering. We will be facing severe revenue problems within our schools and city government. While we’re in good financial shape right now, it isn’t too late to start preparing for the next budget season,” he added.
While council colleagues were in agreement, they preferred to address a proposed budget ordinance which will finalize a budget process to appoint a review committee. “I’d rather place an eagle eye on where the budget will be, coming up. I don’t know where that stands (budget ordinance),” said councilman Nate Cahoon. “Presuming we will pass that and it probably behooves us to get in sooner than later. I don’t see any immediate concerns, but I agree revenues may not be what we anticipate,” added Cahoon. Cahoon went on to say that a hiring freeze may make things worse if critical positions to budget planning went unfilled as an example. The council agreed to consider the budget ordinance at the next meeting in early June.
New Process for Hiring Traffic Control Guards
The city council approved final passage which covers the hiring of traffic control personnel. “We have seen uncovered crossing guard posts for close to a year and the new charter and legal department has been drafting an updated ordinance so we can fill these positions,” said the resolution sponsor, at-large councilman Bob Rodericks. “Many of these positions are covered by contractors and don’t cost the city anything. We also had some important school crossings that went uncovered this past year. This process requires persons to apply for positions and removes the politics of council or mayoral appointments,” said Rodericks. The new wording states in part:
“In order to provide for the hiring of traffic control personnel within the City of East Providence, the City adopts the following ordinance to govern the selection, appointment, retention and training of traffic control personnel.
Traffic Control Personnel. There shall be three (3) classifications of traffic control personnel as follows:
- Retired Police Officer means any retiree of the East Providence Police Department who retired on a normal, non-disability pension pursuant to Article V of the City’s personnel ordinance.
- School Crossing Guard means a person who is authorized and assigned to direct traffic at various school crossings within the City of East Providence on a part-time basis.
- Traffic Control Officer means a person hired by a public or private person, corporation, or utility company for the purpose of directing traffic at construction or worksite detail with the City of East Providence on a part-time basis.
All traffic control personnel will now apply to the Human Resources Department and shall go through a selection process consistent with the City’s personnel ordinance. Applicants must complete training in safe traffic control practices and public contact techniques, be thoroughly familiar with the latest Flag person requirements and guidelines included in the most recent edition and revisions to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and must possess a certificate of satisfactory completion from a training course approved by the Department of Transportation. They must complete, on an annual basis, any in-service training program as required, organized or authorized by the East Providence Police Department and successfully pass a background check.
Those already employed will remain on but must still meet the minimum qualifications and background checks. “The main change here is just a process of going from appointment to hiring,” said Mayoral aide Marc Furtado. “The police will provide all vetting and background checks for these posts,” said Furtado.
“I hope those already hired can remain, I think level of training for school crossing is different from other traffic patrols,” said councilwoman Anna Sousa. Councilman Nate Cahoon asked about notification of job openings. “What are requirements of job posting? Do we post in papers, libraries, etc?” asked Cahoon. Mayor DaSilva added that all professional links are used to announce jobs through HR. “Currently we use ADP, LinkedIn, social media, etc. This ordinance also creates a method to ensure that all crossing guards are trained, regardless of assignment,” said the Mayor. Crossing guards can take assignments that all police officers decline. The positions are not in any union.
Monteiro Named PBS Innovator
In a press release from the National Public Broadcasting Association (PBS), it was announced that East Providence elementary school teacher, Crystal Monteiro, is one of 19 educators nationally to be named a PBS Digital Innovator. Monteiro has taught in East Providence for some 25 years. She was named the East Providence School District teacher of the year in 2016. Currently, Monteiro is a district K-5 instructional coach for East Providence. Monteiro was nominated by the Rhode Island PBS for national consideration.
“Crystal Monteiro, an EPHS graduate, has been an educator in the East Providence School District for 25 years. She is honored to serve the families and students in her hometown of East Providence, Rhode Island. As a first-generation college graduate, she fully understands and values the power of education and credits her family and 4th grade teacher for instilling a love of learning and encouraging her to reach beyond all expectations. This is what led her to the teaching profession and what continues to ground her commitment to teaching excellence and advocacy,” said the National PBS award statement in part.
The PBS Digital Innovator All Star program brings together a community of PreK-12th grade educators, who are hometown thought-leaders and classroom changemakers, for ongoing professional learning and growth. The program creates opportunities for participants to share strategies, learn from peers and leverage PBS platforms to elevate their own ideas and voice.
“Throughout her career she has taught grades three, five, and six and has loved every minute of it. Throughout her career she has worked on a variety of district and state initiatives focusing on professional development, curriculum design, teacher preparation and teacher leadership. She served as a statewide induction coach for beginning teachers and launched RI’s first ECET2RI Convening which focuses on elevating and celebrating the teaching profession by placing teachers in the lead. Monteiro has a genuine passion and excitement for teaching and learning, while also having the opportunity to share best practices while supporting and empowering her teaching colleagues,” said the National PBS selection statement.
Monteiro thanked family, community and colleagues in a social media post: "I want to thank everyone for your kind words and well wishes. I very much appreciate your calls, texts, and FB posts. I've been fortunate to work with excellent educators who inspire me and push me to be better every day and I'm forever grateful for my circle of family and friends who seem to forever be in my corner. I'm looking forward to the PBS opportunity and I'm excited to contribute and learn from the other 18 educators from around the country. A sincere thank you. I'm truly blessed." - Crystal Monteiro