NEWPORT – The Mayor of Newport has announced a development in the city’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, following a recent council meeting. Both unions in the city have agreed to recognize MLK Day as an official holiday, starting from 2024.
“I informed the public that the unions campaign for 2024 was ‘Demand the Dream,’ meaning that the unions wanted to have MLK Day included as an observed holiday,” Mayor Linda Joy Sullivan stated, emphasizing the significance of this development in acknowledging Dr. King’s legacy.
In a move towards enhanced accountability and adherence to the city’s charter, Sullivan also revealed that starting from March 1, 2024, council members will be bonded. This decision comes after a surprising discovery that the previous City Manager was never bonded, a requirement explicitly stated in the Newport Charter.
“I immediately made sure that in the contract that was approved by the council for City Manager’s, that incorporated in the contract was the requirement as explicit in the City Charter, for the City Manager to be bonded,” Sullivan explained.
Sullivan’s efforts extend beyond administrative reforms. In a recent meeting with the CEO of North Country Hospital, she discussed the critical needs and services of the local hospital. The hospital, which operates 365 days a year, offers a range of services from primary care to specialty clinics. The Mayor underlined the importance of these services and the need for continued support and collaboration with state officials to ensure the hospital’s growth and the retention of specialty staff.
“These are challenging times and there is a focus from the CEO on building pillars that will make their organization stronger,” the Sullivan noted, aligning these goals with those of the city council for municipal employees.
In addition to healthcare, the Mayor highlighted the ongoing process of filling key city positions. The council is actively interviewing candidates for the City Manager and Fire Chief roles, with the aim of finalizing these appointments in the coming weeks.
Emphasizing transparency and public engagement, Sullivan encouraged citizens to participate in council meetings and share their concerns. The council has been addressing issues like handicap/disability access, snow clearing responsibilities, and road agreement conflicts. A new City Sign policy has also been approved to facilitate candidates’ campaigning for the upcoming council seats.
“Please remember to come to my Mayor’s Hours on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. That is your time and I am listening,” Sullivan said.