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Contract Status for Seekonk Public Works Chief Not Clear

The Board of Selectmen deadlocks with a 2-2 tie on whether to renew Bob Lamoureux's contract. Selectman Gary Sagar refuses to vote.

Whether Public Works Superintendent Bob Lamoureux will work for the town of Seekonk past next June may be determined by an attorney.

With Gary Sagar voting "present," the Board of Selectmen was unable to break a 2-2 tie Wednesday night on whether to begin contract renewal negotiations with Lamoureux, who has held his position for nearly eight years. Town Administrator Pam Nolan said this meant his contract was automatically renewed for a year. Selectman Bob McLintock said he wanted to hear an opinion about what the voting result meant from the town's legal consultant.

A large crowd, made up mostly of Lamoureux supporters, attended the meeting. Several times they let their emotions loose with cheers, jeers and critical comments.

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Those voting in favor of negotiating a new three-year contract with Lamoureux were Nelson Almeida and Dave Parker. Those voting against were McLintock and Francis Cavaco. After he was pressed for an answer by Parker, Sagar said he voted "present" because he supported letting Lamoureux stay for one more year.

Nolan had recommended Lamoureux not receive a new three-year contract, but she did want him stay one more year.

"I asked Mr. Lamoureux for a lot of improvement," she said. "I have seen improvement ... I would prefer that he were on longer so that ... we could work out our relationship so we could work out together."

McLintock did not need any more time. He said there have been problems with Lamoureux's projects.

"If you look at the performance, there are many, many reasons why this man should not be reappointed in my opinion … you're going to hear more about them in the future," McLintock said.

Parker said there was no reason not to renew Lamoureux's contract and everybody with whom he had spoken agreed with him. He said this included Seekonk residents and state Department of Transportation officials who have dealt with Lamoureux.

"Mr. Lamoureux is the first one in and he's the last one out," Almeida said. "He's out there actually working with his guys. He is not the typical supervisor just pointing the finger and making somebody dig a hole."

Cavaco, who also opposed Lamoureux's contract renewal in 2010, did not specify why he opposed renewing it this time, but Lamoureux said he knew. He told the selectmen Cavaco had a personal problem with him.

"It has been made very apparent, especially in the recent months, that Mr. Cavaco has a personal problem with me … criticism of my job performance coincided with Mr. Cavaco becoming chair of the Board of Selectmen," said Lamoureux in a speech that was interrupted twice by Cavaco, who said it was not appropriate.

The selectmen needed to vote on the contract renewal because the town requires employees be given six month's notice that they will lose their job. Lamoureux's current contract expires at the end of June. Town Engineer David Cabral's contract also expires at that time, and the selectmen voted 3-2 on Wednesday to begin renewal negotiations with him. The dissenting votes came from Cavaco and McLintock.

Several people spoke in favor of Lamoureux during the Community Speaks portion of the meeting. Among them was Cabral. Town Clerk Jan Parker said the selectmen's non-decision was another blow to the already low employee morale.

"What was done here tonight [and] what was done [two weeks ago] to another town employee is a travesty," Parker said. "And the morale in this building is already in the toilet, and this is just going to add to it."

Former Selectwoman Carol Bragg announced she would begin a 30-day fast "on behalf of the employees of this town who are continually disrespected by the board."

Bragg said what she considers to be abuse and mistreatment of town employees by selectmen and Nolan is a form of "psychological violence."

"Somebody needs to atone for the violence that's done by this board to our employees," Bragg said.

As she moved to sit down following her statements, Cavaco said Bragg had cost the town more than $6,000 several years ago when as a selectwoman she made a racially charged comment to a black Planning Board member. Bragg returned to the microphone a few minutes later to say she had not made the comment she was accused of making. She said the town did have to pay a lawyer to contest a lawsuit alleging she had made the racially charged comment, but it was not her fault because she had not filed the suit.

Following the meeting, Lamoureux thanked numerous people outside the selectmen chambers for their support.

"I'm overwhelmed and humbled by the support," he said. "You folks are wonderful. I'm not going anywhere. April is right around the corner."

Somebody asked him what is special about April. Lamoureux responded, "We have an election."

Cavaco is up for re-election in April.

Editor's Note: The original version of this story stated the vote was 4-1 in favor of negotiating a contract renewal with David Cabral. The vote was 3-2.

Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 01:22 PM
On the lawsuit matter, the town attorneys knew it was a frivolous lawsuit, a so-called SLAPP suit, meant to harrass. A comment I made in the parking lot was turned into the basis for a lawsuit alleging racism and suing for $75,000 in damages for defamation of character. The same plaintiff also sued United Airlines, alleging racism. Nine months after the first papers were served at Town Hall, I sat through a 2-hour deposition in Taunton with my attorney, Jay Tehan od Kopelman and Paige. I recounted my history of working against racism, dating back to 1969, when I dropped out of college in protest against institutionalized racism. I was a founding member of the RI Coalition Against Bigotry, the founder of the Interfaith Call for Racial Justice, was credited with putting racism on the agenda of the RI State Council of Churches. I worked for 6 years in the black community in Rhode Island, managing two state representative campaigns for an African American, coordinating luncheons for the RI Black Caucus of State Legislators, and co-leading community support for the state's Equal Employment Opportunity legislation. I served on the Board of the Center for Minorities in the Building Trades. I was a coordinator for RI Divest, the free South Africa movement, and fasted 19 days against apartheid, testifying before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I preached sermons on racism, "Choosing Your Neighbor Doesn't Count." to be continued
Paul Mac Pherson December 13, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I think if you recheck you will find that the vote was 3 to 2 to renew Mr. Cabral's contract. I believe Mr. Cavaco and Mr. Mc Lintock voted against.
Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I brought African American trainers to Rhode Island from The King Center in Atlanta to begin teaching Kingian nonviolence -- to the Providence police, Providence school teachers,inmates at the RI Training School, at-risk youth, religious leaders and community groups. I received awards from the Providence Chapter of the NAACP and the Southern New England United Methodists (I am not a Methodist) for my work on racism. After listening to this 2-hour litany about my work, the attorney for the plaintiff said my comment that the vote to fill a Planning Board vacancy had been both racist and sexist was plausible.The lawsuit was dropped. Had it gone to court, it would have looked entirely foolish. Mr. Cavaco took information about town expenses on my behalf and totally distorted who was responsible for those expenses in an effort to discredit me. I can still see the goodness in him. We all need to work on our thorns.
Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM
On the fast: I plan to fast from January 1 through the King holiday to January 30, the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi said, "Whenever there is distress which one cannot remove, one must fast and pray." I have found this to be true on matters of violence. There are unwritten laws in this town that the police cannot enforce but elected officials, town employees, and residents should obey. There is the law of love, the Golden Rule, the directives to forgive and not to judge other. Every time we say the Pledge of Allegiance we mumble the words that this is one nation under God and then we proceed to speak and act in very ungodly ways, destroying any chance for genuine community and tearing apart our country. We desperately need a revolution in values in this country and it needs to begin with each and every one of us.
Martha Rice Sanders December 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM
For anyone unfamiliar with the wonderful and dedicated work of Mr. Lamoureux on behalf of Seekonk, I invite you to view the Nov. 29 show of Inside Seekonk on TV 9 (http://tv9seekonk.com/vod.php -- put 'inside seekonk' in the title field; it's show ID 2485). Inside Seekonk is created and hosted by my husband, Bill Rice, with Charles Waddington. The show runs only 30 minutes and is well worth the time.
Amy December 13, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Carol, it was wrong for Cavaco to publically humilate you. Everyone on that board owes you an apology.
Martha Rice Sanders December 13, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I was able to put together the direct link to the Inside Seekonk program on Mr. Lamoureux: mms://173.9.100.21/TRMSVOD/2485.wmv You will need to have a media player to actually view it. Enjoy! And thank you, Bob Lamoureux, for your dedication to Seekonk.
William Rice December 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Worth watching....;0)
Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Amy: Thank you, but in retrospect it powerfully reinforced what I've been trying to say for some time -- that employees and residents are disrespected by some members of the Board of Selectmen. As I've written before, there's a Jericho Road in Seekonk politics with a dangerous bend at the east end of Town Hall where employees and residents are ambushed and left in the ditch. For too long, we've been like the priest and the Levite, walking by on the opposite side of the road. We need to become Good Samaritans and speak up and help the wounded. We also need to form a Jericho Road Improvement Association to rebuild that part of the road.
deb of see-attleboro December 13, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I don't think this is the first time Mr Sagar voted "present". What a disappointment. The citizens deserve better.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Deb, it is the second time. Here is the other time: http://attleboro.patch.com/articles/housing-board-appointment-sparks-controversy
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 04:22 PM
You are correct. I have made the correction in the article. Thanks for pointing out the error.
baitcutter02 December 13, 2012 at 05:49 PM
it must be painful for mr. parker and mr almedia to sit there and get painted by the same brush as the threesome-- they at least seem to have a sense of the town and are never in the middle of these hugh issues-- guess we should be thankful for some logic on the board
Carol Bragg December 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Jonathan: Somebody asked me about the statement Mr. Lamoureux made. Do you have a copy you could post?
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I am sorry, he did not give me a copy of the speech.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 15, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I have attached a copy of Bob Lamoureux's speech.
William Rice December 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM
My ipad, which reads pdfs fine, treats this as a very low res picture...impossible to read.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM
I'm not sure why that would be. It's posted as a PDF. How does your iPad read the PDF attachements here: http://patch.com/A-0rNx

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