The Coventry citizens' taskforce formed to investigate alternatives to the in-receivership Central Coventry Fire District (CCFD) and at Club Jogues on Wednesday night selected a slate of seven residents to run for CCFD Board seats in the June 29 election.
Voting on recommendations of a 3-member taskforce nominating committee consisting of residents Bob Bjorklund, David Henry and Rose Verrier, the group received 11 initial nominations which were narrowed down to the most qualified seven candidates.
The committee endorsed its co-chair, Fred Gralinski, a businessman who once served as a Board member of the Harris fire district; Marie Baker, a business systems analyst; Cynthia Fagan-Perry, a retired office manager; R. David Jervis, a former Coventry tax assessor; resident Helen Quinn; Robert Hadley, an accountant and bank auditor; and Richard Polselli, a business owner.
Taskforce members present at Wednesday's meeting voted unanimously to support the seven candidates.
According to Gralinski, the seven will run as a slate, and will receive the continued support of the Taskforce.
“Those elected in June will have a huge job to do, working to pull the Fire District out of the ditch. Given the energy and experience of this group of people, I have no doubt of their ability to put the Fire District back on the right track," he said. “These are people who have been involved with the investigations the Taskforce has undertaken over the past several months, and they come to the election deeply knowledgeable about the issues, and fully prepared to begin work immediately."
“As Judge Stern has ruled, (if elected) they will be working as a full partner of the Special Master, and I believe both the Judge and the Special Master will be impressed with the depth of their understanding and willingness to consider every option moving forward," Gralinski continued. “Coventry is very lucky to have them willing to take on this important task, and they certainly have the full confidence of the Taskforce."
State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-Coventry, West Warwick, Warwick), who was instrumental in organizing the taxpayer response, said she was exceptionally pleased with the candidates chosen.
“These are all people who have led the charge in Coventry, done much of the heavy-lifting and contributed their time because they believed it was time for taxpayers to start making key decisions," she said. “It is going to be very difficult for the defenders of the status quo in Coventry to compete successfully against such a talented and knowledgeable group of candidates."
The taskforce is now seeking about 50 volunteers to participate in four neighborhood literature drops that will take place each weekend leading up to the all-day referendum-style election to be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 29.