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Van Slyke Spins the Facts

Bonnie Van Slyke's Letter to the Editor (December 15, 2023) is her latest attempt to try and save the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA) crumbling legacy.  She won't let the facts stand in her way of spinning a tall tale.

Be honest Bonnie, the CCA made mistakes.  Stop trying to convince everyone that things in Charlestown were perfect under the CCA leadership.  They were not.  As issues come to light, this current Town Council is not sweeping them under the rug.  We are addressing them, in public, as we should.

The buck stops with the Town Council, not the staff.  The issue is not that there was a mistake, the issue is how you handle the mistake.  The CCA handled mistakes by trying to convince people that everything was fine when it was not.  Candidates endorsed by Charlestown Residents United (CRU) face these issues in a transparent manner.


As to the assertions in her letter:

  • I never said the staff violated the Impact Fee ordinance.  I said the town violated the ordinance.  That falls on past Councils.  CCA supporters can claim the impact fees have been handled properly, but no one can seem to find the required documentation for expenditures of this money.

  • The issue of the legality of an elected Planning Commission has been raised in the past but never decided by the courts.  A recent change in Rhode Island state law provides for applicants to appeal decisions of the Planning Commission directly to the Superior Court.  It is highly likely that this issue will once again be raised by an applicant aggrieved by a Planning Commission decision. 

  • The Charlestown Affordable Housing Commission raised the issue of applications for Accessory Dwelling Units not being accepted by the Town and requested the Town Council act upon this matter.  The Town Council will hold a public hearing on the ADU ordinance amendments in January.

  • There was in fact a problem with the payroll which was evidenced by the fact the Council had to transfer a large sum of money to cover the shortfall.  The problem was addressed and corrected, not swept under the rug.

This Town Council is not afraid to discuss town issues in public.  Nor will we sweep problems under the rug.  If something is not being done correctly, we will fix it. 

As mistakes come to light, the CCA desperately tries to convince the taxpayers that under their leadership everything was perfect, and they did everything correctly.  They did not.  Stop making statements that aren't true as you try to divert attention away from what really happened.


To my fellow Charlestown residents, stay tuned, because we have also seen the CCA tall tale machine spinning with regards to the Ninigret Master Plan Update.  The truth will come out on that matter, despite their best efforts to the contrary.


Deborah Carney, President, Charlestown Town Council

This article first appeared as a Letter To the Editor in The Westerly Sun on December 23, 2023.

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