Judge reverses appointment of Gayle Corrigan in East Greenwich

FILE PHOTO: Gayle Corrigan (WJAR)

A Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that the appointment of Gayle Corrigan as the town manager of East Greenwich is null and void.

Judge Susan McGuirl said the Town Council violated Opening Meetings law when it made her appointment in June.

McGuirl said the town failed to notify the public that it was appointing Corrigan.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the firefighters' union in the firing of firefighter James Perry. Corrigan had terminated him, according to Lt. William Perry, in retaliation for comments the union president had made about Corrigan.

But William celebrated the decision.

“I think this is an opportunity to bring somebody in new, that’s not going to come in with a vendetta against the town’s firefighters or anybody else, and somebody who’s going to work for the town,” William told NBC 10 News.

McGuirl immediately reinstated James to the East Greenwich Fire Department.

Corrigan also let go Town Hall personnel.

“Obviously, there is going to be lots of litigation against the town from employees that she terminated (or) she laid off without cause -- my brother’s one of them and he won his job back today. She terminated my fire chief Monday night without cause, which is insane.”

East Greenwich Town Council President Sue Cienki put out a statement late Wednesday.

“Today’s decision will not deter or distract us from continuing to push for a more accountable, professional, and fiscally sound Town government,” the statement read in part. “We have scheduled a Town Council meeting for Tuesday, November 14th to address the court’s decision and ratify all Town actions that have taken place since June 19, 2017,” which is the date Corrigan began her town manager job.

NBC 10 also spoke with Christopher Olsen, who is the interim operational chief. He said he started on the job Monday evening and claimed he knew nothing of the lawsuit or the controversy between firefighters and the town manager.

“I haven’t heard anything from the town manager or the town council,” Olsen said about the lawsuit or the ruling.

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