Boards and commissions serve a critical role in our municipal government. They harness our citizens’ talents and offer the perspective of a person removed from day-to-day administration. I am grateful for the service of everyone who serves on our many boards and commissions. However, I am deeply troubled by the apparent conflict of interest presented by attorney Nicholas Hemond’s dual role as chair of the Providence School Board and as a private attorney representing many of the nightclubs and bars constantly brought before the Board of Licenses for serious infractions.

There is no question that Mr. Hemond, in his role as chair of the Providence School Board, is a strong and sincere advocate on behalf of our children and families. However, as a prolific attorney in private practice, he continues to help some of the worst license violators flagrantly violate our laws, place people at risk and avoid prosecution. These businesses continue to have a negative impact on our quality of life, place our families at risk, and create an unnecessary and potentially deadly burden for the men and women of our police department.

While Mr. Hemond is not breaking any law, his dual roles as an advocate for children one day and an advocate for lawless entertainment venues the next further erodes the public’s trust in government.

I urge Mr. Hemond to step down as chair of the Providence School Board immediately.

Acting President Sabina Matos, Ward 15

Providence City Council