Parties file for dismissal of suit against N.S. administrator

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The town has reportedly reached a settlement with the former Town Hall employee who accused Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski of inappropriate conduct and discrimination.

Attorneys acting on behalf of Donna Rovedo and the town filed a stipulation for dismissal of the suit on Tuesday, May 14.

Rovedo, who served as Zwolenski’s administrative assistant from June of 2020 until she moved to a position as the town’s deputy tax assessor in March of 2022, resigned from that role in February.

In October of 2022, Rovedo filed a suit in U.S. District Court alleging employment discrimination as a result of what she says was inappropriate conduct by the town leader.  Providence-based attorney David Cass represented Rovedo in a complaint that sought compensation for damages as a result of alleged violation of the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act, the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The council approved an agreement effectively dismissing the charges at their meeting on Monday, May 6, and court records show that a stipulation for dismissal was filed jointly on Tuesday. Zwolenski and the town were represented by the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust in the matter.

NRI NOW has learned that Rovedo received $60,000 in a settlement, to be paid by RI Interlocal, and that the claim is not expected to increase the town’s rates.

Reached for a statement Monday, May 20, Zwolenski said, “I am glad that the taxpayers of North Smithfield were spared any expenses on this now closed case.”

“I will continue to focus on delivering the many worthwhile projects I have initiated that will improve the quality of life for the residents of our town,” he added.

Neither Cass or Rovedo could immediately be reached for comment on the dismissal.

NRI NOW will publish more information on this breaking news story as it becomes available. The above article has been edited to reflect that the dismissal was filed jointly, and to include comment from the administrator.

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37 COMMENTS

    • What a horrible insinuation to suggest that the school department was involved in sexually assaulting someone for what, political motivations? Trying to tie this headline to PZ? “When will the behavior end?”

      As not her again would say, stick to the topic and sandy should get rid of you !

  1. On May 20, 2024 at 3:02pm Primal2 posted: “not necessarily false claims, but there was no concrete proof or anyone to back her up”

    What was is that you supposedly didn’t say?

    • Grow up and stop taking things out of context of a continuing conversation. For starters. Bye bye. Take up your nonsense with someone else.

  2. WOW!!!

    Council President Alves, the settlement is just $60,000 after all this time? A $60,000 dollar settlement being paid by the legal department of the insurance company at no cost to the town. Why? Starting in the Paulette Hamilton Administration, other multiple cases dragged on against the Town. Two separate cases that took place under Hamliton, have each been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle. The town had to pay for these.

    Council President Kim Alves, the Valley Breeze wrote about you having multiple contacts with Mrs. Donna Rovedo. You’re a business person, Council President Alves. Everybody knows that in the business world, in the political world and in the private world, you don’t talk to people that are suing you. You talked..

    Council President Kim Alves, you broke the trust of Town Council Members that entered into closed sessions to discuss legal strategies. How can Town Councilors feel free to discuss future issues in closed sessions with you, knowing you talk outside of the meetings? You let Town Council members down. Most importantly, you have continuously let everyone in North Smithfield down.

    More on that to come

    • JC you continual show your lack of knowledge. The insurance company is not going to absorb the loss. In the next 3 to 5 years the towns insurance rates will increase due to higher incidence and experience and the town will eventually pay.

      • So DW, you’re claiming the town administrator and attorneys are lying? What knowledge do you have that the rates are actually going to increase due to this settlement? Or are you trying to paint a picture that any increased in insurance rates which could be due inflation or just higher rates across-the-board is going to be tied to this specific settlement? And what incidence ?

        • It’s common knowledge about insurance that the more claims against the policy the higher the premiums down the road.

        • HR if you had any knowledge and experience you would know that the rates are going to go up due to a claim. Just have an accident with your auto and watch your insurance premium go up the following 3 years. I speak for over 30 years of experience.

  3. Would love to see PZ post a list of the worthwhile projects that have so improved our quality of life. I think that the vast majority of people in this Town have witnessed the disrespectful interactions between Paul and the women that sit on the TC. Like a broken record, we need professional management in this position, not an Election Day popularity contest.

    • It’s so bad here but yet you stay?
      Always playing the gender victim card !
      And yes, a broken record is quite fitting !

      • HR, how well do you know PZ and have you ever observed PZ using the “jerk off” motion? My guess would be you have if you know him well. Many men in this town have observed it and should have come forward to say something! Victim? Me, get a grip! Certainly, much tougher than you will ever be….believe me, people in this town should have offered to testify, as many are personal witnesses to his very juvenile behavior. PS I don’t think that he ever said the behavior never happened.

        • So there is an accusation and your answer is to get other people in town to testify that they saw him make a hand gesture somewhere in life. But her co-workers wouldn’t come forward.

          Makes total sense Mary!

          Get a grip (no pun intended)

  4. And you are proving my point exactly by comments of how low the amount was. By displaying the low amount, it makes it look like it was a waste of time and who does this fall on? Right. The one bringing the lawsuit primarily.
    Again, there is no justification of knowing the amount settled on, just the fact that the townspeople will not incur any higher taxes would have sufficed. More vitriole towards the female settling on, as the described, lowball, amount. The only winners are the attorneys.
    And as for proving it, it is a well known fact that a certain male likes to use inappropriate hand gestures even when on the tel to display his feelings of who he is on the tel with. It defines him. But witnesses did not come forward with this.
    What is commonplace, inappropriate from some individuals we all work with at one time or another, it is just best to go about our day. Ignore the nonsense in various forms. Change jobs. Not saying she was wrong, but saying it may have been a better option we all have to weigh at some point.

    • You contradict your own words. It’s well known he does XYZ – but no witnesses came forth? So are you making that up or what? Also, sounds like you are sad to learn that the public knows the full truth of how this ended and that you can’t paint a different picture.

      If he did something wrong, it’s unacceptable, if she filed a complaint and was awarded a judgement so be it. Move on and learn. And maybe it wasn’t as bad as was lead to believe. There are three sides to every story; his, hers and the truth! Some of you had him hung in the town square before trial!

        • Courts often push you to mediation to save time and money. And if one loses at trial, may end up paying the other party’s costs. So, many lawsuits of this type are settled shortly before going to trial or during. Discovery produces the concrete proof needed before trial. And if that is seen as poor after the depositions and discovery all in, then attorneys get real as to where it’s headed.

  5. And the attorney gets a chunk of that. Why publish the amount? What purpose did it serve? It would have sufficed to just say it was settled, and afford Ms Rovedo her privacy. People do not need to know everything, and as Claire O Hara once said, very well said, this is North Smithfield.
    Oh joy, no cost increases for the town. Further making Ms Rovedo feel all warm and fuzzy now. Please add some dignity and respect.

      • According to the article, TA Zwolenski was not available for comment. Are you insinuating that there is a conspiracy here between the publisher and TA?

        Why wouldn’t the public want or get to know what this is settled for. The public should know that it’s not going to increase the town rates.

        The fact that your against it and suggesting some sort of conspiracy speaks volumes of either your paranoia or your ashamed at the amount of what she got.

        I do have to say, the award does sound a little underwhelming considering the accusations…..I wonder who actually thought it was better to settle vs. go to trial ….with this amount I think we know the answer.

        • Ah, the joy of always proving you wrong. I’d like to quote the joker here “It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message”. It’s the reason people choose lower paying jobs. Who wouldn’t want more money, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Why are you always victim blaming?

          • Thanks to the always interesting, informative and entertaining posts emanating from the obviously complex individual known as BM (and seriously, has there ever been another human being whose initials better suit them than BM?), we have learned that wearing a hat, the wrong color shirt, calling a tree a totem pole, talking over someone or even silence (ex. deciding it’s not necessary to provide information) can be problematic in the world of HR. BM has shown us that we all must abide and live by the tenet “Would I or do I find this offensive? No, but someone else does.”, meaning beware of offending anyone with anything you say or do; and further, even if you keep your mouth shut, you can get in trouble – or perhaps even be sued.

            I congratulate that champion of digital detritus BM on educating readers as to just how ridiculous HR regulations and requirements have become, and for making the case that Mr. Zwolenski may well could have possibly made some perceived unacceptable remarks; but today, beware, since brevity has replaced levity – be brief, say just enough to get the job done, and move along.

            I don’t know exactly what was said back and forth between PZ and DR, but this lawsuit was not good for NS, and frankly a realtor selling a couple of above market-value homes can make the amount settled for by the Trust. I think we can all agree this turned out to be a waste of time, money and ink-space (excepting of course indulging that individual with more free time to blog than most anyone on planet earth, BM) and it’s time to move on, get the business of the town going, and get things done for NS. Oh, and stand by for BM’s next Pulitzer-worthy missive.

          • Hey genius, When I make a comment on social media I use my full name. You can pass that along to Mike Clifford too. HR is not me but I am glad to see others are beginning to see in you what I knew for two years now. Keep posting…please.

          • I don’t think anyone’s victim blaming here. You’re right – there was a message sent. A message that this woman unfortunately had baseless claims and it wasn’t panning out when it came to the legalities of what could go forward. Simple enough.

            Attorney’s don’t take cases to “send messages”. They’ll send any message you want in letter form for ~$300/hour, but attorney’s take cases to win. Sounds like she found one to take the case, they got up on the line of scrimmage and noped their way right out of that once they saw she didn’t have the right story that was going to win. No winning story = no winnable jury.

            Next!

            • Not necessarily false claims, but that there was no concrete proof or anyone to back her up. They need their jobs. Kept quiet. And a court jury needs concrete proof. Like a video or tape somehow. Otherwise it’s one’s word against the other. If he was nasty that often, you can bet I would have secured a hidden camera. Lesson learned.
              Men often like to kid around, women too. And sometimes, it crosses the line. Glad it’s over, and all can move on.

              • Thank you for confirming this was nothing but a case of he said, she said. Thankfully our rates won’t increase and we can move along to better understanding the details of this new trash and recycle program. The one where you get less services for the same money!

                You have to wonder why drove the DPW head to pick this company and recycling every 2WEEKS and then his better half locked up 3 votes to get it done. Hmmmmmmm….

                • Saving money is now considered spending the same money, who knew. Wasn’t the deal they were going to get with the current company over 500k more, and on top of that they fined the town if they went over the allotted trash amount. Sounds like a bad deal.

                  • Amazing how you come to every rescue of any questioning and critique of select elected officials.

                    You wouldn’t dub yourself a self imposed pitbull would you ? Who do you take your orders from ?

                    • I just point out the facts that have been presented to us thus far, to which you and others seem blatantly disregard.

                      If you’re implying that I take orders from people other than the officers appointed over me, you are laughably wrong. Better luck next time.

                • I never said she did not have concrete proof. Do not manipulate the words. I was summing up what might have been in discovery. We don’t know for sure. But I would have held out for more. Taken my chances.

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