Paul Campbell, Providence, Rhode Island’s veteran city archivist, has been the center of controversy for a while. In November, he was suspended with pay by the city council. A few days later, he was fired.
The reasons for being fired have not been publicly announced but Campbell does have a checkered past with involvement in city politics. For instance, Campbell served six months in prison after he pleaded guilty to lying to a grand jury about a kickback he paid former Pawtucket Mayor Brian Sarault in 1990.
Last month, Campbell’s office unveiled a portrait of former Providence mayor and two-time felon Buddy Cianci at Providence City Hall. Cianci was Providence’s longest-serving mayor with 21 years in city hall. But he was forced from office twice, first in 1984 with his no contest plea for assaulting a man with a fireplace log, ashtray and a lit cigarette. Cianci’s second administration ended in 2002 with a 4 1/2-year prison term for racketeering conspiracy. Archivist Paul Campbell and the now-discredited Mayor Cianci apparently were good friends.
You can find a few dozen news stories that were published in the weeks before and a few days after Campbell’s dismissal by starting at https://goo.gl/wwYTgV.
Now the Board Members of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society have published a letter “To Whom It May Concern.” The Board of Directors is concerned that the city’s politicians apparently are planning to eliminate the position of the Providence City Archivist and also plan to remove the City Archives from the responsibility of the City to some unknown “non-profit.”
Here is the letter: