June 23, 2024

East Providence settles $750K lawsuit stemming from Rose’s Administration

City and Insurance Carrier to cover payments

Posted

The City of East Providence has reached a settlement with former City Manager Richard Kirby. In a press release May 21, 2024, the City Administration said the following:

Regarding the Kirby settlement: "Kirby was terminated back in 2016 after a 3-2 vote by the East Providence City Council. The timing came shortly after Kirby alleged ethical violations against the then ceremonial mayor Thomas Rose, accusing Rose of using taxpayer dollars to lease a vehicle for his own use.

In 2016, Kirby was initially suspended prior to his termination over accusations that he violated several city policies and did not properly investigate claims of sexual harassment, which the then Council at the time claimed resulted in approximately $150,000 of “unnecessary costs.” Kirby maintained his termination was retaliatory following his ethics complaint against Rose.

Kirby filed the lawsuit in Rhode Island Superior Court in 2019 against the City of East Providence as well as former City Councilor Tracy Ann Capobianco, former city official Timothy Chapman, and former ceremonial mayor Thomas Rose (in the former City Manager form of government, a council member was voted by peers to preside over meetings as a "Mayor." Today the position is the "Council President).

Kirby alleged he is entitled to lost wages and benefits treble and punitive damages as well as attorney fees under the Rhode Island Whistleblowers’ Protection Act and the Rhode Island Ethics Code. In addition he is seeking damages for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

As stated in the settlement the City of East Providence, Rose, Capobianco, and Chapman expressly deny any violation of any of policies, procedures, the City Charter or state laws.

As part of the settlement, East Providence has agreed to pay $400,000 to Kirby and the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust, the city’s insurer, will pay an additional $350,000. The City of East Providence’s portion of the settlement payment is due to the city’s insurance not covering “lost wages and breach of contract.” Most legal opinions had Kirby being awarded much more money had this gone to trial. "It was obvious Kirby would win."

“This matter is a holdover from the days when East Providence was governed by a City Manager/City Council form of government and there was little accountability,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said. “While this settlement is in the best interest of the taxpayers of East Providence, not only should this have never happened, but it shines a spotlight on the detrimental effects to our taxpayers, when City Council members act alone outside the scope of their duties and responsibilities in a nontransparent manner which is now costing the residents a significant amount of money.

“My administration is committed to seeing that nothing like this happens again and that we continue to operate in an open and transparent manner,” DaSilva added.

"Hopefully this is the last of the discrimination and other ethical violations regarding personnel that East Providence will face," said current City Council President Bob Rodericks. "Prior city administrations have cost our city millions of dollars in lawsuits and settlements. Cases like the Ali Khorasani discrimination matter ($580K) and many others which have needlessly cost taxpayer dollars," added Rodericks.

Noted labor attorney attorney Thomas J. McAndrew represented fired building official Al Quattrucci as well as several other aggrieved East Providence employees in past cases. “I’ve been successful in every East Providence wrongful dismissal case I’ve had,” said McAndrew in a prior interview with the Reporter. “They (city officials) don’t seem to get it.”

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Share!
Truly local news delivered to every home in town