Town of Coventry, RI
Kent County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Section 15.01 Definitions.

(a) 
Manager. The term "Town Manager" as used in the Charter shall refer to the Town Manager of the Town of Coventry.
(b) 
Town Council. The term of "Town Council" when used in this Charter shall refer to the Town Council of the Town of Coventry.
(c) 
Elector. The term "elector" as used in this Charter shall refer to any person having the qualifications required by law to vote in elective meetings in the Town of Coventry.
(d) 
General election. The term "general election" shall mean an election held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even numbered years, at which time, in addition to the offices provided in this Charter there is [are] elected candidates to fill the offices of senators and representatives in the R.I. General Assembly, the constitutional officers of the state, member of the U.S. Congress, and such other offices as may be provided by law.
(e) 
Inhabitant. The term "inhabitant" as used in this Charter, shall refer to any person who lives within the boundaries of the Town of Coventry.
(f) 
No other public office. Whenever in this Charter it shall be provided that the named elected or appointed official "shall hold no other public office or employment in the service of the Town of Coventry, or of the state or federal government," there shall be excepted therefrom the office of Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, member of the National Guard, member of a reserve component of the armed services of the United States; volunteer fireman; volunteer policeman; civil defense worker; member of a committee or group formed by any religious, charitable or educational organization to work in connection with any agency of the town; member of any board, commission, or agency formed to work alone, or with other members, to carry out projects in conjunction with other municipalities of the state, the State of Rhode Island, or with an agency of the United States.
(g) 
Publish. The words "publish" or "published" as used in this Charter shall mean to cause to be printed, as a paid advertisement, in one or more newspapers having a general circulation in the Town of Coventry, the notice or matter to be brought to the attention of the inhabitants of the town.
(h) 
Special election. The term "special election" shall mean any election held by virtue of an act of the R.I. General Assembly or by action of the Town Council of Coventry, in accordance with law.

Section 15.02 Residence of employees.

[Amended 11-2-1999]
All municipal department heads, the Chief of Police and the Town Manager shall reside in the Town of Coventry; provided, however, the Town Council may, by resolution, specifically exempt a particular person from the provisions hereof if the Town Council shall declare that it is impossible to find a resident of the town to meet the requirements of the position to be filled.

Section 15.03 Term of office.

[Amended 11-2-2010]
The term of office of all offices, members of boards, commissions or committees appointed with the approval of the Town Council, or appointed or elected by the Town Council, shall be concurrent with the term of the Town Council, unless otherwise provided in this Charter.
Prior to the effectiveness of any appointment or re-appointment (including appointments resulting from any vacancy), each designee to any board, commission or committee shall: (i) be sworn into office at a meeting of the Town Council and (ii) comply with any other pre-appointment, or pre-re-appointment, policies or procedures of general applicability imposed by the town council as a condition of appointment or reappointment, if any.
Every elected or appointed officer of the town who is elected or appointed for a specific term shall continue to hold such office until the officer's successor is elected and qualified.
During each term of the Town Council, no person shall be appointed or reappointed by the Town Council to any board, commission or committee (whether established by ordinance, resolution or otherwise) between the following dates: (i) the date of a general election in the Town of Coventry and (ii) the date of the commencement of the term of the next subsequent Town Council in the Town of Coventry. The foregoing regulation shall also apply to appointments resulting from vacancies on any board, commission or committee. The Town Council may make a temporary appointment to a board or commission if it is needed to make a quorum. Any such appointment even if a temporary appointment shall end upon a new appointment being made by the new Town Council.

Section 15.04 Open meetings.

All meetings of the Town Council, the School Committee, the Board of Assessment Review, the Zoning Board of Review, the Planning Commission and every other board, committee and commission created by this Charter or which may be hereafter created by the Town Council, except when in executive or closed session, shall at all times be open and accessible to the public. No final action shall be taken on any matter by the Town Council, the School Committee or by any board, committee or commission meeting in executive session, but shall be voted upon in open meeting.

Section 15.05 Public records.

All records and accounts of the Town Council, the Town Manager and of every board, commission, office, and agency of the town shall be open to public inspection at all reasonable times during business hours, except (a) the records of the Police Department and the Town Solicitor, the disclosure of which would tend to defeat the lawful purpose which they are intended to accomplish; (b) records of the Department of Public Welfare pertaining to the history of individual cases; (c) records in the office of the Town Clerk pertaining to adoptions and the parentage of adopted children; (d) records of the School Committee pertaining to grades and matters of discipline of individual pupils; and (e) all other records required by law to be treated as confidential.
Any person inspecting public records as above provided shall be permitted to make written copies or abstracts of any of such records. It shall be the duty of any officer or employee of the town having custody or control of any records or accounts open to public inspection as above provided, to furnish, as expeditiously as possible, to any person requesting the same, a certified copy of any such record or account, or any portion thereof, upon the payment of a reasonable charge for the preparation of the copy.

Section 15.06 Membership.

[Amended 11-4-1980; 11-2-1999]
The Town Council, upon recommendation of the chairman of a board or commission, may remove a member of said board or commission if such member (1) fails to meet the qualifications of the office as prescribed by law; or (2) pleads guilty, nolo contendere, or is convicted of a felony or a crime involving the theft of public funds or public property; or (3) fails to attend a majority of the regularly scheduled meetings of the board or commission within one (1) calendar year period without having been excused by the board or commission.

Section 15.07 Fees.

All fees received by any officer or employee of the town shall belong to the town and shall be paid to the Town Treasurer at such intervals as the Town Council may require, except as is otherwise provided in this Charter.

Section 15.08 Compensation of Officers and Employees.

Subject to the limitations contained in Section 3.10 and Section 5.04, the Town Council shall have the power and duty to fix the compensation of all elected or appointed officials and employees of the town.
The Town Council may provide that certain appointees shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses actually made by it.
The Town Manager, or any other officer or employee who performs the duties of an office other than his/her own, shall not be entitled to any additional compensation unless the Town Council shall so provide by resolution or ordinance.

Section 15.09 Disclosure of Financial Interest.

Any officer or employee of the town who has a substantial financial interest, direct or indirect, or by reason of the ownership of stock in any corporation, in any contract with the town, or in the sale of land, material supplies, or services to the town, or to a contractor supplying the town, shall make known that interest; and shall refrain from voting upon or otherwise participating in a capacity as a town officer or employee in the making of such sale or in the making of such contract. Any officer or employee of the town who willfully conceals such a substantial financial interest or willfully violates the provisions of this section shall forfeit the office or position. Violation of this section, with the knowledge of the person or corporation contracting with or making a sale to the town, shall render the contract or sale voidable by the Town Council.

Section 15.10 Prohibitions.

[Amended 11-2-1976]
(a) 
No person shall be appointed to, or removed from, or in any way favored or discriminated against, with respect to any town position or appointive town administrative office, because of race, color, sex, political or religious affiliations, or opinions.
(b) 
No officer or employee of the town shall collect any fees or perquisites for his/her own use, but such fees or perquisites, collectible under law, shall be paid into the treasury of the town, except fees of auctioneers, constables, and such other officers or employees as may be authorized by ordinance.
(c) 
No officer or employee of the town shall solicit or accept any compensation or gratuity in the form of money or otherwise for any act or omission in the course of public work.
(d) 
No officer or employee of the town shall use or permit to be used, town property for private purposes; and no officer or employee of the town shall use public facilities for the purpose of conducting private business.

Section 15.11 Noninterference by Town Council.

Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations under Section 3.14(n) the Town Council or its members shall deal with town officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the Town Manager, solely through the Town Manager, and neither the Town Council or its members shall give orders to any such officer or employee, either publicly or privately.

Section 15.12 Separability.

If any provision of this Charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the Charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the Charter, or any of its provisions, to any person or circumstances, is held invalid, the application of the Charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

Section 15.20 Amendment of Charter.

[Amended 11-2-1999]
The Town Council shall within two (2) years after-adoption of this Charter and every fifth year thereafter or more often, if it is deemed necessary, appoint a committee of nine (9) members to review this Charter. Said committee shall, within six (6) months to its appointment, submit to the Town Council a report with its recommendations for amendments, additions, or deletions. Each recommendation of the committee, upon approval of a majority vote of the Town Council, shall be placed upon the ballot.
This Charter may be amended at any time, or a new Charter adopted in the manner provided by the Constitution. Should two (2) or more amendments adopted at the same election have conflicting provisions, the amendment receiving the largest affirmative vote shall prevail. The sections of any amendments, in addition to this Charter, shall be numbered by the Town Clerk and inserted in their appropriate places or added to the Charter.
It shall not be necessary for the full text of a Charter, or of amendments to a Charter, to be printed upon the ballot; any digest or description thereof, or any question, or statement, which substantially expresses the purposes or identifies the subject matter to be voted upon, shall be sufficient. The Town Council shall approve the statement of the question as it shall appear upon the ballot.

Section 15.21 Integrity of town employees.

[Amended 11-7-1978; 11-2-1999]
Any employee of the town who shall have been indicted or otherwise charged with a felony may, at the discretion of the Town Manager, be suspended from office with pay pending trial. Any employee of the town who shall have been convicted of a felony or entered a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or a so-called Alford plea to a felony, shall be automatically suspended without pay pending the outcome of any appeal from said conviction, plea or sentence. Any such employee whose conviction, guilty plea, nolo contendere plea, or Alford plea shall be upheld following the exhaustion of all appeals shall be deemed to have vacated his or her office.