FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
East Greenwich, Rhode Island
The Town of East Greenwich on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 appeared before the State Labor Relations Board (“SLRB”) on an unfair labor practice complaint containing 29 separate counts, many of which are also subjects of pending grievances, filed by the Firefighter’s Union, Local 3328.
The Town recently learned that the Union’s legal counsel, Attorney Elizabeth Wiens, an East Greenwich resident who has been very vocal in her opposition to Council policies regarding the firefighters, also represents SLRB member Derek Silva, President of the Providence Firefighter’s Union. For this, and other related reasons, the case against the Town has been plagued by multi-layered and substantial departures of the RI Code of Ethics as well as fundamental principles of due process.
Among other serious concerns of the Town, Board member Silva voted on at least 6 matters involving this case. These votes are a violation of RI Ethics’ Commission Advisory Opinion 2018-27, issued to Board member Silva. Conflicts of interest were not disclosed; the Town and the Board were kept in the dark about important matters that required disclosure of relationships. Because this did not happen, the Town is left with no other option than to seek an injunction from the RI Superior Court against the SLRB to put a halt to these proceedings that have violated the Town’s right to a fair and due process and a fair hearing.
The Town is asking the Superior Court to vacate all decisions of the SLRB, and to dismiss all pending matters involving the Town with prejudice.
This is yet another example of how powerful the reach of the firefighters’ Union is and how pervasive their friends and associates are in the local and state government and for all their efforts, the Town is forced to spend valuable taxpayer dollars on processes that are fundamentally flawed and unfair.
Exhibit A - Advisory Opinion
Exhibit B - SLRB Meeting Minutes
Exhibit C - SLRB Open Minutes