Ward 13

Councilwoman Rachel Miller

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Ward 13: Federal Hill and the West End

Centrally located, just West of downtown, and up the hill from I-95. This ward includes all of Federal Hill and portions of the West End. Federal Hill received its name in 1788 to commemorate the ratification of the Constitution by 9 of the 13 states. It has long been the home of a large Italian American community and is renowned for the restaurants that line its main thoroughfare, Atwells Avenue. Tourist and locales alike flock to eat in the many excellent restaurants found here, or to listen to music in DePasquale Square in the Summer. The entire ward has become one of the more popular areas to sample great food in the City. And every September, the Federal Hill Commerce Association throws the annual Columbus Day Parade.

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City Council Leaders Introduced a Series of Measures to Expand Safety, Quality and Workforce Development in Construction

At tonight’s City Council meeting council leaders introduced a series of amendments to Chapters 14 and 21 of the Code of Ordinances. Together, these changes will create baseline standards for quality, safety, and workforce development in the construction industry.

Amendments to Chapter 14, introduced by Council President Matos, Councilor Pro Temp Correia, and Councilors Miller and Salvatore create a  citywide construction contractor registration process that includes measures to prevent the misclassification of workers as temporary employees.

“Regulating contractors with a registration process protects the physical and economic health of our city residents,” stated Councilor Rachel M. Miller. “By and large, I believe contractors follow the law, but, in an industry that is notoriously hard to regulate, any company that is cutting corners affects the industry and affects the health and well-being of our community. As a community organizer in Providence, I saw three big problems in the industry: workers who had to fight for for their claim to unpaid wages, also known as wage theft; workers who were injured on the job only to find that their employer was illegally classifying their employment as 1099 (or contract work) leaving them with no recourse for workers’ compensation; and workers who worked for a contractor who disregarded health and safety training, not even requiring workers complete the most basic ten hour safety class, OSHA 10.”

The amendments to Chapter 14 require that a contractor who does over $100,000 in construction business per year register with the City’s Board of Licenses every two years. In order to successfully register, an applicant must not have recent wage and hour or health and safety violations. It also must be up to date on its taxes. The $100 fee collected every two years will support enforcement and monitoring of this new statute.

Amendments to Chapter 21, introduced by Council President Matos and Council Pro Tempore Correia strengthen provisions for workforce development through apprenticeship and set a wage standard for work completed with the support of Tax Stabilization Agreements.

“When we put public dollars to work in the form of tax stabilization agreements, we make a commitment to both the private developer and to the residents of the city,” said Council President Sabina Matos. “This is an opportunity to continue to strengthen our TSA policy to ensure that we are getting a return on that investment – in the form of new development and revitalized buildings and also an investment in our workforce. For many years, development tax treaties have required 100% apprenticeship utilization. Apprenticeship is the pathway that turns a one time job into a lifetime career. But, although the ordinance required it, there were still loopholes that allowed that provision to be disregarded. Tonight we’re introducing changes that strengthen apprenticeship requirements. Additionally, we’re setting a standard for competitive wages that will lift up the working women and men in the industry. The City Council believes that there’s always a possibility for a positive ripple effect in our neighborhoods when we pass a TSA, but with these changes, that possibility becomes a promise.”

Statement from Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller and Representative John J. Lombardi on Incident at Nara

This morning we find ourselves deeply saddened about a violent act on Federal Hill resulting in the loss of a life. It is incomprehensible how anyone could act against another in this manner.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the victim.

Over the last several months we, in our capacities as State Representative and Providence City Councilor, Ward 13, we have been working diligently with the Providence Police Department on issues that impact life, health, and safety on Federal Hill.

We know the determination the police, city leaders and businesses have to keep Federal Hill and all areas of the city safe. We thank members of the Federal Hill Commerce, residents, city leaders, and the Providence Police for working with us and working together over the last five months.

This appears to be an isolated incident at a long standing establishment, where a violent act took place between two patrons as part of interpersonal dispute.

We will be in contact with Chief Clements to offer any assistance he may require, and to learn more details about what took place during this altercation.

We want to assure residents and visitors alike that the beautiful historic Federal Hill is a safe place to visit with your friends and family. Please join us during the upcoming Columbus Day festivities and what will be the start of fall and the holiday season.

Rachel M. Miller – Providence City Council – Councilwoman, Ward 13

Representative John J. Lombardi – Rhode Island General Assembly – District 8, Providence

Statement from Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller

Statement from Councilwoman Rachel M. Miller

This first day of school I know that students, parents, teachers, and administrators are putting their heart and effort into a positive first day back for our city’s youth. I also know that everyone must be feeling anxious and uncertain- while our city is united in acknowledging the crisis facing our schools, we’ve had so little information on what’s coming next, it’s hard to feel anything but uncertain.

As a city councilor, here’s my back to school commitment:

I will support a state intervention that gives meaningful structural decision making and voice to students and parents. I believe that’s the critical missing piece. If we’re serious about long-term change, not surface change- if we want to truly change the culture that brought us here- student and parent participation in decision making is non-negotiable. This means finding a path that goes well beyond listening sessions and community forums.

I will support a state intervention that includes a transparent process, accountable to the public, not just the state and city structures that got us here. Let’s make these critical decisions about our schools in the light of day, where public input is taken seriously and responded to.

I will support a state intervention that includes a turn-around plan beyond improvements in reading and math scores. Let’s make sure that we’re also measuring improvements in social-emotional supports, cultural competency, and behavioral interventions that embrace difference. Let’s embrace a plan to change how it feels to be in a Providence Public School every day. Let’s create a culture that embraces learning, curiosity, and a deep respect for one another.

I will support a state intervention that looks hard at school buildings and the health of students and teachers learning and teaching in those buildings. One that looks at funding mechanisms for our schools and understands that we didn’t get to this crisis point overnight- this has been a long time coming and every state institution, taxpayer, elected or appointed official, has a piece of this and can give a hand in creating positive, lasting change.

No one has a silver bullet for widescale change for our youth. But I think the students and parents who are organizing together know what won’t work- because it’s failed multiple generations of students already. Let’s make sure that this process ends the cycle of failing our young people. Let’s stand up for a process that is transparent and accountable to youth and to parents. Parents and students have a right to know what is being planned for their futures. That’s my back to school commitment- I’ll keep standing up for that voice, and that right, as we enter into a state process.

Rachel M. Miller
Providence City Council
Councilwoman – Ward 13

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