Cranston City Council discusses press conference stunt

The Cranston City Council wants to know more about why a van driver at the Cranston Senior Center recently posed as an elderly woman at press event. (WJAR)

What started with a man dressing as an elderly woman has turned to political theater.

"We're sitting here tonight to play a political game of chicken," Cranston City Councilman Michael Farina said Thursday during a city council meeting.

"Honestly, you should be ashamed of yourselves," said Council President John Lanni.

The Council debated the fallout from the flap that occurred at the city's senior center in January.

The NBC 10 I-Team's Parker Gavigan broke a story about the center's van driver, who posed as a woman for a press conference. Not long after, senior services director Sue Stenhouse resigned.

That's all the council knows. The mayor's office has only said it was a personnel matter.

But some council members - mostly the Democrats - want more answers from Republican Mayor Allan Fung.

"We owe an apology to the taxpayers how this whole thing has turned into a flying circus," said Councilman Mario Aceto.

But others - mostly the Republicans - believe that the case has been closed.

"Whether she resigned or whether he asked for her resignation, I don't think there's a difference," Councilman Donald Botts said.

With two Democrats absent, the Republicans won, as they blocked a move to question the mayor's staff behind closed doors.

They were joined by Farina, a democrat.

"I think it's silly," Farina said. "I don't know what happened. It's a personnel matter. We're not supposed to know what happened. She serves at the pleasure of the mayor. So realistically, there's no need to go forward with this. The only reason to have this meeting is to try to make something out of nothing to hurt Allan Fung."

Lanni claimed the opposition is working as a roadblock for Fung. He said he wants to know who knew what about the ruse and why Stenhouse is gone.

"The taxpayers of this city are still left in the dark," Lanni said. "To go to these lengths to block an executive session sends me the message that where there's smoke there's fire."

Lanni said it isn't over yet, as he hopes the council will get the opportunity to again vote on the issue.

Stenhouse was invited to attend the meeting, however, she wasn't there.