Leading Women in Providence Blast Councilman Salvatore for Bullying & Being Abusive - He Fires Back

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


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Top Left Clockwise - Witman, Matos, Ryan and Castillo. Center is Ranglin

In the past week, leading women across Providence have criticized Providence City Council President for being “abusive,” a “bully,” and failing to support issues important to women.

It started over the weekend when Lisa Ranglin, President of the Black Business Association, blistered Salvatore for a lack of support for issues that matter to women and minorities. By Tuesday night the number of high profile women raising questions about Salvatore had risen to five.

On Monday night an ugly incident took place after a City Council Committee meeting when Salvatore “screamed” and “intimidated” two female members of the City Council for not agreeing to vote the same way he wanted. Both Councilwomen recapped the incident exclusively to GoLocal on Tuesday afternoon.

"After the vote, I get a text from Salvatore -- he said I should be supporting women's issues, and that I'm shameful," said said Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan. "I said you don't have the facts -- he was spouting off facts that were incorrect for as far as I know."

“After the meeting, I went to the City Council office," said Councilwoman Carmen Castillo. "Salvatore called me in the office and said shame on you, you don't support women. I said it's not like that. This is why we have a [city] lawyer, to advise us when we need review. I know what I'm doing. He was screaming at me. I said listen -- if we're going to pass it I want to be sure."

"I said I'm not your daughter -- I was almost crying," said Castillo. "I left the office, and talked with [Councilman] Correia -- and I see Councilwoman Ryan. Then Salvatore came out and started again out the door, 'Shame, shame, shame.' I feel 'cause I'm Latina and minority -- I don't know how he can say he say he supports women and minorities and he treats me like that."

“Council President Salvatore’s impertinent remarks directed to Councilwoman Castillo and me after the meeting were regrettable. It was a poor display and behavior unbecoming the Office of the Council President.  He should know better, and frankly, we deserve better,” said Ryan.

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Sabina Matos, calls for Salvatore to seek counseling

Councilwoman Matos and Mayoral Candidate Witman Criticize Salvatore

Independent candidate for Mayor Dee Dee Witman — one of the few female candidates for Mayor in Providence’s history -- said in a statement that Salvatore’s verbal attacks are unacceptable.

“It’s shameful that Council President Salvatore would bully two female colleagues over their votes on minority and women-owned businesses in such a demeaning and hurtful manner. As Council President, it is inappropriate and uncalled for to scream at another member of the Council, and he should immediately apologize to Councilwomen Ryan and Castillo,” said Witman.

Former Council President Sabina Matos has called for Salvatore to enter anger management training. “I was disappointed and deeply offended to learn of Council President Salvatore's outbursts and disrespectful verbal assault towards two of my colleagues. The unfortunate irony is that Council President Salvatore berated them for “not supporting women.” Is this how he supports women?” said Matos.

“This behavior is unacceptable regardless of the circumstances, even more so when dealing with two Councilwomen. We must have zero tolerance for this type of abusive and bullying behavior demonstrated by Council President Salvatore… he needs to issue a public apology immediately and enroll in anger management and sensitivity training, which would be required of any city employee who engaged in such abhorrent behavior,” said Matos.

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Salvatore is a full-time State House lobbyist

Salvatore Responds

Salvatore, a full-time State House lobbyist, said in a statement on Wednesday night that he should not have yelled at the councilwomen, but that the incident is political.

“I should not have raised my voice to Councilwoman Castillo. However, I will not apologize for feeling passionately that women and minorities should have a much greater stake in our city's business dealings. I am disgusted that my colleagues would rather take cheap shots at me instead of taking action on important issues,” said Salvatore.

“Last night, I told Councilwomen Matos, Ryan and Castillo that they were playing politics, and they should be ashamed. I stand by that. We all, as elected officials, should be embarrassed that in a majority-minority city, where women make up approximately half the population, participation by minority- and women-owned businesses in city dealings is a paltry two percent,” he added.

He went on to attack the council members on a number of issues.

“It is ironic that individuals who sat idly by while colleagues used their City Council and campaign accounts as personal piggy banks suddenly feel the need to spring into action. There are members of the City Council who support a culture of corruption, and they owe the residents of Providence an explanation and an apology,” said Salvatore.

Salvatore in his statement then issued a laundry list of charges.

“When a City Council member's husband, himself an official in the same political party as her colleagues, repeatedly mocks and uses offensive language when referring to her colleagues; when another City Council member uses city resources and taxpayer money to have their trees pruned - and cuts the line ahead of the backlog because they feel entitled to special treatment; when a Council member travels to the Dominican Republic and freely uses her City-issued cell phone, racking up hundreds of dollars in phone bills she expects taxpayers to pay; and when Council members play shell games with their financial accounting; we all lose. Providence deserves better,” charges Salvatore.

Salvatore did not respond to requests for clarifications on some of his charges.


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