June 27, 2017

Rep. Marszalkowski at (401) 714-4425 or Sen. Pearson at (401) 276-5568



Rep. Marszalkowski and Sen. Pearson bill to make Cumberland Fire Committee a public office under state election laws goes to governor for signature


STATE HOUSE – Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) and Sen. Ryan W. Pearson’s (D-Dist. 19, Cumberland, Lincoln) legislation (2017-H 5904 / 2017-S 0478) that would establish that membership on the Cumberland Fire Committee constitutes holding a public office and that the elections of the Fire Committee are governed by state election laws is now heading to Governor Raimondo’s desk for her signature.

"For several years confusion existed on if the Cumberland Fire Committee is a public office due to a board of elections interpretation. Being a public office is an important distinction as the Fire committee has very similar powers to the town council. One of the key reforms of the fire district consolidation was putting the committee up for election just like other offices rather than in small annual meetings. This bill ensures that those elections will occur and according to the same rules as all other elections," said Representative Marszalkowski.

"In addition to compliance with election laws, this clarification of the fire committee as a public office ensures that fire committee members are subject to all laws for public officials. This includes adherence to the code of ethics as well as campaign finance laws. This is critically important to ensure the highest standards of conduct as well as transparency of campaign finances for the fire committee," said Senator Pearson. 

“This was a true team effort from the Cumberland delegation and I am glad that we were able to get this bill passed for the citizens of Cumberland,” said Rep. Mia A. Ackerman (D-Dist. 45, Cumberland, Lincoln), a cosponsor of the legislation.

“I’d like to thank Representative Ackerman and Senator Pearson for their knowledge and guidance on this issue.  Without them, the citizens of Cumberland would not have this important piece of legislation that will benefit our town,” added Representative Marszalkowski.

The legislation amends the law that consolidated the Cumberland, North Cumberland, Cumberland Hill, and Valley Falls Fire Districts into the Cumberland Fire District.  Representative Marszalkowski and Senator Pearson’s legislation makes it clear that membership on the committee is a electable public office and that all elections to the committee are to be governed by state elections laws and overseen by the Rhode Island Board of Elections and the Cumberland Board of Elections. 


For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our website at www.rilegislature.gov/pressrelease.