WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The Woonsocket City Council stopped short of deciding whether to remove Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt from office Tuesday, as the investigation continues into a complaint recently lodged against her.
Councilor Denise Sierra submitted the complaint earlier this month, in which she claimed Baldelli-Hunt wasn’t performing her duties as mayor.
In her complaint, Sierra accused Baldelli-Hunt of repeatedly ignoring and refusing to enforce ordinances and measures passed by the city council.
Sierra also argued that Baldelli-Hunt is incompetent and should be removed from office.
The Woonsocket City Council was prepared to vote on a resolution that would remove Baldelli-Hunt from office during a special meeting Tuesday night, but opted to hold off at the request of the mayor’s lawyers.
“We’ll give them an extra week to get their ducks in a row, and hopefully we can proceed at that point,” Woonsocket City Council President Daniel Gendron said.
Baldelli-Hunt’s supporters erupted in applause as she entered the packed room alongside her lawyers.
The mayor tells 12 News the outpouring of support she’s received has been overwhelming.
“I think it’s a testament to the job I do in the city, and that folks here recognize how hard this administration works,” Baldelli-Hunt said.
The mayor’s lawyers have repeatedly argued the complaint is an effort to disenfranchise voters by removing an elected mayor.
“[There were] 7,502 people who voted for me in 2020,” Baldelli-Hunt said. “They feel that this is not right to have a small group of people take their voice away.”
Mayors and town managers from Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, Narragansett and North Providence attended the special meeting to show their support for Baldelli-Hunt.
“When they heard this was happening … it was disturbing to them,” Baldelli-Hunt said. “I’m not patting myself on the back, but they know how hard I work for the city. They thought it was important to come here and show their support.”
Gendron tells 12 News he’s eager to move forward from the investigation.
“This is the last thing I want to be doing,” Gendron explained. “[There are] much more important thanks we could be doing, but unfortunately, this is where we are.”
“I’m like everybody else, I want to see this through,” he continued. “Whatever the results are, I will accept it and I think everyone else will accept it.”
The special meeting has been continued until Oct. 4, when the Woonsocket City Council will vote on whether to remove the mayor.
But whatever they decide, Baldelli-Hunt will be sworn in for her fourth consecutive term as mayor this December, since she is running for reelection unopposed.
No matter what happens, Baldelli-Hunt and Gendron both said they’re ready to turn a new page and focus on what’s best for the city.