Buddy Cianci’s mayoral portrait is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday evening at Providence City Hall with a reception to follow at the Roma restaurant on Federal Hill.
But there has been a last-minute change of plans because one of the men slated to officiate at Cianci’s ceremony – Providence City Archivist Paul Campbell – has been suspended with pay from his $60,000 a year job.
Campbell, who holds a job controlled by the City Council, was suspended pending an inquiry because he allegedly was rude to a temporary employee, Richard Izzi of West Warwick, who was working temporarily at City Hall.
Campbell is a long-time Cianci ally (helped write his mayoral campaign announcement speech last year) who arguably has done a fine job as archivist. He has helped raise the profile of the city’s history via prominent displays, including the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Providence Fire Department and wonderful look at the city’s long baseball history. He is always helpful o researchers and journalists who have questions about the historic capital city’s past.
Campbell also spearheaded the restoration of portraits of past Providence mayors.
Campbell is also uniquely qualified for the job – he holds masters’ degrees in both history and library science and has written extensively on Rhode Island and Providence history.
While some Campbell allies see payback for his Cianci support in 2016, City Council President Luis Aponte said the two-day suspension was related solely to his ``insult’’ of a temporary employee. That it occurred close to the Cianci portrait ceremony was merely ``bad timing’’ said Aponte.
A spokesman for Mayor Jorge Elorza said the mayor had no role in Campbell's suspension.
Campbell did not return telephone inquiries seeking comment.
Campbell’s pace at the ceremony will be taken by Patrick T. Conley, a lawyer, history professor emeritus at Providence College, a leading R.I. historian and the state’s historian laureate. Conley, a former Cianci mayoral chief of staff, said he will officiate at the unveiling tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 19th) along with former Mayor Joseph R. Paolino Jr.