Chariho School Parents’ Forum

January 20, 2009

An unpleasant reality

Filed under: 1 — Editor @ 4:58 pm

As you probably know, the battle to retain my seat on the School Committee has been pushed to the Supreme Court.   Since the beginning (presumably ever since they knew I was running for the Town Council), Chariho has used tax dollars to pay their attorney to make this happen.  Indeed, it seems as though it is only his (paid) opinion that gave them the authority to do so.  But I digress…


Nick Gorham believes strongly that we are right and has provided legal services pro bono.  These services are mostly man hours but there are filing fees that are accumulating ($450 so far).  This comes out of his pocket and he is asking me to cover them.


I have always said that I would not ask the town council (tax dollars) to pay for any of this (at least not what I can control – we already pay for Chariho’s attorney).  And I have never asked the town’s attorney to even look at it (the letter she wrote came out of a meeting I was not at). But Gorham needs to recoup his out of pocket expense so I have set up a legal defense fund to accept donations.  Technically, according to the Board of Elections (which I spoke with this AM), these funds must be reported with my campaign paperwork. 

So, the ask is out.  If you are so inclined, please consider donating to this fund.  As with any donation of this type, it is not tax deductible.


You can make donations by sending a check to me at 14 High Street, Ashaway, RI 02804 or via credit card on paypal (pay to email account  Just note “Legal Fund” on the donation. 


I’m happy to answer questions privately if you wish at the above email.


Thank you for your consideration.  Believe me, I don’t like asking.



  1. Lets all support what we think is right. Let’s not have our rights exploited by such a senseless act.

    Comment by Us — January 21, 2009 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  2. Lets all support what we think is right. Let’s not have our rights exploited by such a senseless act.

    Comment by United We Stand — January 21, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  3. I have never met BF, and all I know about him is what I have read in the newspapers and this site. From this I know that I don’t agree with him on his positions on local education issues. Nor are they popular positions with the CSC. However, they are popular positions with the many many voters he represents in Hopkinton, and I can’t support him enough and the voters of Hopkinton in his right to represent his ideas before the CSC and the right of the Hopkinton voters to be represented by him. I intend to support him in his fight for justice.

    Comment by Henry Walsh — January 21, 2009 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  4. Mr. Walsh, I’m not sure if your the son or the father but as a Charlestown resident I would think that you would have to raise issue with the way chariho budgets are put together and the astromical ‘surpluses that strip the three municipalities to provide services to the Townspeople and why those astromical fees aren’t returned to the three municipalities to provide those needed services.

    You may disagree with school choice and other issues I don’t know.

    Chariho isn’t going to close on choice or other issues that may bother you.

    I do appreciate you taking the time to enter this forum. I hope your a frequent contributor. If your the father you have been involved in community affairs for many years and have something/much to offer. Lets agree to disagree and provide your thoughts. I’ve already sent a contribution.

    Comment by United We Stand — January 21, 2009 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

  5. Yes, I too am a charlestown resident.

    Comment by United We Stand — January 21, 2009 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  6. Well well well, while forming ‘teams’ allegiance to a town of ones choice may a court connect maybe the Rhode Island Judiciary Website should be checked out to see if all the members are of the highest order. Their is a disclaimer that notes it does not constitutie and should not be relied upon as an official record (the police should be providing that by towns).

    Maybe the RI Judicary Website and criminal database may surprise some members, especially the Town of the Zip of 02833 (again their is a disclaimer should not to be relied upon as an official record).

    Check em all out.

    Comment by Sandy — January 21, 2009 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  7. I will be supporting Bill.

    Regardless of the outcome, there is a due process right in this country and we cannot allow the majority to throw the minority under the bus at their whim. My view is that the SC took the easy way for expediency’s sake.

    If you’re not a big time politican with special interest money in the bank, funding this case is usually not going to happen.

    Let’s all remember Mr. Gorham when you are in need of legal representation in the future!

    Comment by Gene Daniell — January 21, 2009 @ 9:40 pm | Reply

  8. I agree with you Gene. Lets hope United we Stand and Mr. Walsh are true to their words and are providing financial support. The administration should be fired (let contracts run out). Mr. Polouski and Mr. Day should remind Ricci that they are the bosses not the other way around.

    Hopefully others will kick in $20 or so to the cause. Barry already get free legal advice $130,000 a year plus gas allowance isn’t enough. Talk about a financial slob.

    Comment by Sandy — January 21, 2009 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  9. Regardless of what Ricci may or may not have done to participate in the action of the SC, the burden falls to the elected memebers. When you stand for election you accept e responsbilitey to stand behind each of yours botes and the conse

    Comment by Gene Daniell — January 21, 2009 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  10. Hit the wrong key …

    Regardless of what Ricci may or may not have done to participate in the action of the SC, the burden falls to the elected memebers. When you stand for election you accept the responsibility to stand behind each of your votes and the consequnces that follow.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — January 21, 2009 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  11. In the end, should right prevail, I would hope the School Committee is ordered to compensate Mr. Gorham’s firm for their legal expenses. I also would hope that individual School Committee members are held personally responsible and fined to the highest extent possible. Because of my need for anonymity, I won’t be contributing to Mr. Felkner legal fund, but I have mentioned his expenses to a few people I know who might have the desire to contribute.

    I know our debates here have consistently scared away opposition to Mr. Felkner’s positions. Usually they run away because they are unable to logically defend their opposition…usually it is emotional, like they love teachers no matter what…I would be interested as to what disagreements Mr. Walsh has with Mr. Felkner’s views and why? I’m doubtful I can be convinced school choice isn’t in the best interest of children and the community…but maybe there is a reasonable and logical argument against it?

    Comment by Curious Resident — January 21, 2009 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

  12. I believe the Henry Walsh that has posted is the son, not the father. If it is the son, he could not replace Andy P. since he is a Richmond resident, not a Charlestown resident.

    Comment by CharihoParent — January 22, 2009 @ 5:27 am | Reply

  13. I should have written that I am not in agreement with most of BF’s positions,instead of giving the impression that I do not agree with all of his positions. I certainly agree with his position on the surpluses in the Chariho budget.

    BF has to report the names of any donors that contribute $100 or more. So, if anyone wishes to remain anonymous, make a contribution of less than $100. I’ll send BF an Email in case he isn’t aware of this.

    As I understand it,BF can be awarded expenses only for those expenses involving the Open Meeting Law. He will also be able to fine individuals who participated in violating this law. Should he file a suit for Civil Rights violations, and I believe his right to freedom of speech, and freedom to assemble were violated through the force of police, he can also be awarded expenses and fines. I believe that he should talk to Stephen Brown of the ACLU, and his attorney about this. A recent example is Rodney Driver’s successful suit against the Town of Richmond when Richmond, using police force, violated his right to Freedom of Speech.

    Last but not least, when I was on the CHARIHO High School Committee, Hopkinton and Richmond had members serving on both the Towns’ School Committees and the CHARIHO Committee. It wasn’t a big deal then, so why is it a big deal now?

    Comment by Henry Walsh — January 22, 2009 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

  14. Because it doesn’t fit the “agenda” of those who despise being held accountable.

    Comment by RS — January 22, 2009 @ 4:11 pm | Reply

  15. Hi!
    Henry, I assume you are Donna’s husband the the current Town Moderator of Charlestown? Is that correct?
    While it may be difficult, forget about the personality, Bill Felkner, and one should ask this question, by what lawful authority can a school committee remove or declare a vacancy from their committee, when the town council of a respective town where the school committee member comes, is the appointing authority and officially acts on resignations?
    In even the best case scenario for the school committee, a revote was ordered by the court, the Rhode Island Attorney- General has not chose to be involved, at least not in taking a side certainly, it would appear most certainly an open meetings violation took place, and we are not finished yet on the Felkner episode!
    Clearly, the Chariho establishment has contradictions. They say Mr. Felkner resigned his position by taking an oath of office for town council but no law is referenced where a vacancy exists when you take an oath of office for another office. I am curious how the school committee will answer the following: What legal basis can you accept a resignation, one that is not written and submitted no less, when you are not empowered to fill the vacancy in the first place and not officially accept the resignation?
    The Hopkinton Republican Town Committee will meet this Sunday at 7 P.M., for their organization meeting. Location will be Hopkinton Police Station. This was postponed from last Sunday.

    Comment by Scott Bill Hirst — January 22, 2009 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  16. Thank you for your comments Mr. Walsh. Much appreciated your voice in the above matter is much appreciated. Obviously you concur that Mr. Felkner’s rights and those other charlestown, richmond and hopkinton residents who ever have or wanted to going forward have been violated.

    Thanks again for your contribution.

    The People

    Comment by United We Stand — January 23, 2009 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

  17. Yes, I’m Donna’s husband and the Charlestown Town Moderator, and a voter who deeply resents the insults to my intelligence by those smug members of the CSC.

    Since there was no “resignation” by BF to consider at the last meeting of the CSC, I consider the agenda for this meeting to be in violation of the Open Meetings Act. I will probably file a complaint with the AG if BF doesn’t do anything with this Agenda.

    Comment by Henry Walsh — January 23, 2009 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  18. Mr. Walsh … The question came up at the courthouse, Gorham recommended that it was not appropriate for BF to pursue due to his current litigation situation. Probably due to the entire case being pulled into quo warranto.

    There’s no reason you couldn’t file a complaint.

    Comment by Gene Daniell — January 23, 2009 @ 2:18 pm | Reply

  19. Sounds like your Tockwotten Cove Henry, glad your participating.

    Sounds like you have a legal background of sorts or some level of expertise whether still in town or up the road in Richmond.

    Be Well, time for a class reunion soon?

    Comment by Sandy — January 23, 2009 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  20. #17 Mr. Walsh please provide us with interest in how to provide a complaint to the AG’s office regarding the same.

    your valued time is appreciated.

    Comment by Sandy — January 23, 2009 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  21. Wonderful web-site, where did you come up with the material in this posting? I’m lucky that I came across it. i’ll be checking back again quickly to discover what other articles you could have.

    Comment by Kate Kobayashi — October 3, 2010 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

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