STATEMENT BY PROVIDENCE CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DAVID SALVATORE
The legal opinion issued by the Providence City Solicitor’s Office states that the contract entered into by the former Council President with GoLocalProv is both “invalid and unenforceable” under the Home Rule Charter and the Providence Code of Ordinances.
While the opinion does not “go beyond the legitimacy of the contract to explore the potential misuse of more than $60,000.00 in city funds,” it does note that those funds were paid “to ‘publicize’ events which had, for three years prior to the GoLocal contract, already been made available to the public free of charge through the Providence Open Meetings Portal.”
The finding makes clear that this was a wholly inappropriate and unethical attempt to avoid going through the city’s competitive bidding process. As a former City Councilman, Josh Fenton, the owner of GoLocalProv, should have known this was questionable at best, and his current effort to suggest it is the city’s problem is absolutely ridiculous.
I once again call on GoLocalProv to return the money it inappropriately took from the city through this improper contract. At the same time, I ask Councilman Aponte to provide any and all documentation he received from GoLocalProv. This should include:
1) data that should have been provided to substantiate the value of the contract-namely, the reach and frequency numbers from GoLocalProv to show the number of viewing the meeting notices posted on that site; and
2) details on what “relevant information” GoLocalProv provided and instances of when they consulted with the city, in keeping with the unusual terms of the contract requiring a media outlet to provide such services.