Woonsocket City Councilor James Cournoyer issued the following response to Mayor Baldelli-Hunt’s August 30, 2022 press release regarding Tax bills:
Once again, we see Mayor Baldelli-Hunt in full campaign mode with a foolish press release that
attempts to blame the City Council for her inability to issue Tax bills in a timely manner.
The City Council unanimously, on a 7-0 vote, passed the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget way back on June
20th.. The timing was consistent with the passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget that occurred on
June 21, 2021, yet it took the mayor more than two months to get around to issuing the tax bills.
In what has become a disturbing pattern, the Mayor tries to dishonestly mislead the City’s residents
by blaming the City Council, when in fact, the cause of the delay is the Mayor’s inability to attract
and retain staff due to what the City’s former Treasurer explicitly stated in a complaint filed with the
Rhode Island Department of Labor as being a ‘toxic work environment’.
The Mayor’s toxic work environment has resulted in the City not having a Tax Assessor, not having
a City Treasurer, not having a Water Collections Clerk, not having a Building Official, not having a
Zoning Officer, along with a host of other vacant key positions that should alarm all of our residents
and which of course results in not being able to get bills out on time.
Very simply, the Tax bills went out late for the same reason the City’s recent Water Bills went out
late – a dysfunctional administration hobbled by a toxic work environment.
The Mayor’s excuse making for the late tax bills is similar to what we witnessed at the August 15
City Council meeting wherein, trapped by her dishonesty, the Mayor became unhinged and lashed
out in a most unprofessional manner at the City Solicitor in a sad attempt to distract from her
inability to productively negotiate a contract with the Police Union after more than two years,
giving the world a first-hand look at her toxic work environment approach that only hurts the City.
The mayor’s press release reveals her unhealthy contempt for the City Council, which is the same
contemptuous attitude that has resulted in an exodus of critical staff from City Hall.
The mayor would better serve the public if she learned to work with people in a more constructive,
collaborative, honest and non-toxic manner, as opposed to submitting irresponsible “election year”
budgets that create structural deficits by attempting to use ARPA funds for recurring operating
expenses, despite her Public Works Director advising her on numerous occasions that he could
spend every penny of the ARPA funds on non-recurring infrastructure needs and other “one-time”