NEWPORT CITY — Former Alderman John Wilson announced Friday he will run against long-time city Mayor Paul Monette, saying it’s time for a change in the city’s leadership.
Wilson also filed a nominating petition Friday for the position of alderman.
He said his supporters who signed both nominating petitions liked the idea of him seeking both positions, hoping he will win one of them.
Wilson took out petitions for mayor and for alderman because he was initially ambivalent about whether he would run against Monette or as alderman.
He was in the council room Monday evening when a divided city council voted to not put two petitions by voters against the landfill expansion on the town meeting ballot. Monette voted with two other aldermen for a 3-1 majority against the non-binding articles.
Voters felt that they should have had their voices heard on the issue of landfill expansion and treatment of the leachate collected from the landfill’s liners at the city’s waste water treatment plant, Wilson said.
“The council, even though they have the final say, did a disservice to voters,” he added.
Others are considering runs for two positions as aldermen and for mayor. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. Monday.
Alderman Dan Ross has petitions out for both alderman and mayor. Another sitting alderman, Denis Chenette, said Thursday he won’t run again.
Melissa Petterson is running for alderman. Jesse Elliott is running for mayor.
The top two vote-getters of the aldermen candidates win.
Wilson said that if he wins both the position of mayor and as alderman, he will chose to be mayor and decline the election as alderman.
That will leave the vacant position up the city council to decide whether to appoint to fill the vacancy or call a special election.
Monette, who has served on the council as alderman and mayor for two decades, had said he would not run again once the city’s centennial was complete last year but changed his mind, saying the city has so many issues to be dealt with now.
Wilson has said he was initially torn between the two positions. Wilson said supporters called him an effective vote on the council when he was an alderman.
Wilson served 17 years on the city council and lost during a five-way race in March 2018 to Julie Raboin and newcomer to the council Kevin Charboneau. Their positions are not up for election this year.
Wilson said he’s not critical of Monette’s accomplishments.
“The mayor has done a good job,” Wilson said.
But he said a lot of people who signed his petitions or who he has talked to recently have said that the mayor has served in the position long enough and it’s time for a change in leadership.
He has said that people say the council is not very approachable.