A Hummel Report Investigation
Woonsocket’s mayor already faces an investigation by the state Ethics Commission for giving her son an unadvertised, unbudgeted city job over the summer. Now Jim Hummel has learned the city hired Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt’s nephew the same week in September The Hummel Report interviewed the mayor about her son.
Click HERE to watch our original report that resulted in a Rhode Island Ethics Commission investigation.
Last week a crew from Woonsocket’s Highway Department was helping put the finishing touches on the city's new Veterans Park - in preparation for this week’s official dedication.
And right in the middle of it: one of the Public Works Department’s newest employees. Tyler Driscoll has been on the job for eight weeks. The 23-year-old, who lives in Cumberland, is the nephew of Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
Baldelli-Hunt already is facing an investigation by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission for hiring her son and teammates from his summer baseball league for unadvertised, unbudgeted jobs during July and August. In an interview with The Hummel Report in September the mayor said she saw nothing wrong with the hire, later calling it a misstep - and late last month terming it a `mistake’ that was part of her learning curve in the mayor’s office.
Driscoll began his job with the city the day before we interviewed the mayor about her son’s employment. Driscoll is classified as a laborer. It is a temporary position with full-time hours and he makes $570 a week. We saw him doing an overtime shift during Columbus Day weekend at the city’s annual Autumn fest celebration.
So we tried to ask the mayor about it after a news conference Oct. 28th, announcing several economic initiatives in the city. We waited until the news conference had concluded and Baldelli-Hunt had done interviews with two television stations about new businesses coming to the city.
Hummel: ``We have a little unfinished business from the interview that you and I did a couple of months ago.’’
Baldelli-Hunt: ``Today is about economic development. If we want to talk about something other than economic development then I’d like you to call my secretary.
Hummel: ``Well I have a feeling you’re not going to want to talk to me if I do that.’’
Baldelli-Hunt: ``No, no, you made mention that I have no problem talking to you, as was evident when I talked to you but let’s not rain on Woonsocket’s parade today.’’
What we didn’t realize until later is that just minutes earlier the mayor had spoken with a Channel 12 photographer about her son’s hiring and the ethics commission investigation.
Baldelli-Hunt: ``I’m not perfect and I’ve never proclaimed to be perfect. I have made a mistake. I’ll probably make many more mistakes. I hope I don’t make too many more. But I come from the private industry, not from the public and there is an adjustment to be made. And I’m certainly not happy I had that misstep but I certainly don’t mean any harm to anybody or to my community.
Hummel: ``That’s why we waited until….