Vachon takes helm as Newport City Council’s new President

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NEWPORT — The Newport City Council elected Chris Vachon as its new president. Vachon, succeeding John Wilson who did not seek reelection, was nominated for the position by the longest-serving council member, Kevin Charboneau.

Charboneau praised Vachon for his comprehensive experience, articulate demeanor, and his balanced approach to issues, leading to Vachon’s swift election. As president, Vachon will assume mayoral duties in the absence of Mayor Linda Joy Sullivan.

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“I’d be interested in taking on the role. I love to take on new challenges,” Vachon said before the vote, indicating his readiness to lead the council through upcoming city governance challenges.

The meeting also opened a dialogue on revisiting the bidding process for the city attorney’s role. New city manager, Jonathan DeLaBruere, spearheaded the discussion, suggesting the council might benefit from inviting new bids from law firms.

Another key focus of the meeting was the appointment of members to various city boards and committees. In a demonstration of their dedication to inclusive governance, the council engaged in thoughtful deliberations over appointments to the development review board and the planning commission.

However, the discussions around the Department of Public Works saw a moment of contention. Council member Clark Curtis abstained from voting on the reappointment of Tom Bernier as the Superintendent of Streets and Waterworks, citing unresolved public concerns about the department’s operations.

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