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Council meeting ends abruptly

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by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT—A special city council meeting called to start the process of hiring a new city manager ended before it began Saturday.  Besieged by a chorus of “point of order” from members of the public in the council chambers, and by challenges to the procedure for posting meetings from Newport resident Anne Chiarello, City Council President John Wilson moved to call off the meeting.

His motion was rejected by Mayor Beth Barnes on the grounds that she had yet to call the meeting to order.  She did so, and Mr. Wilson immediately moved to end the meeting and add its agenda to that of a special meeting called for Monday.

Aside from boilerplate agenda items such as approving minutes from the previous meeting and public comment, the council planned to review the city manager’s job description and the text of an advertisement for candidates for the position, evaluate the city’s program administrator, Rebecca Therrien, and review a proposed consulting contract with departing City Manager Laura Dolgin.  A public statement on the city manager transition was also on the morning’s program.

Before the meeting started, Mayor Barnes noted that she had not been involved in calling Saturday’s meeting. …

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