Winsor must distinguish role
On July 19, the Town Council approved a resolution/ advisory release clarifying the relationship between the town and a private interest group – the Jamestown LNG Working Group. Council member Ellen Winsor, who organized the LNG Working Group, has been meeting with councils, boards and other groups around the Bay and, in particular, Newport County regarding the LNG issue.
She is also promoting a LNG Joint Resolution, which has a number of communities listed as signatories. In reaching out to other cities and towns, elected officials and organizations, Winsor has acted solely as a private citizen, not as a designated representative of the Town Council. In virtually all instances, however, she routinely presented herself as a “Jamestown Town Council Member.”
This failure to distinguish between an official versus unoffi cial role has created misunderstanding and confusion among groups around the area attempting to fight the Hess LNG project. She was asked publicly at least three times prior to the council’s actions to make sure that she clearly disclosed her involvement with the LNG Working Group and that she did not represent the town.
The council recently appointed the LNG Threat Committee to work on behalf of the Town Council and town, to report back to the council regarding the Hess project and to coordinate efforts with other communities to contest Hess’ efforts to develop a LNG facility in Mt. Hope Bay. The LNG Threat Committee is currently working on coordinating efforts with other communities and has found it difficult due to the confusion that Ms. Winsor and the LNG Working Group have caused.
Ms. Winsor is free to continue her efforts with her LNG Working Group. We encourage her efforts. The council’s actions do not prevent her from working as a private citizen with the LNG Working Group. Our actions would have been unnecessary had Ms. Winsor clearly disclosed that her actions with respect to the LNG issue were that of a private citizen on behalf of a private organization.