Mayor Elorza nominates attorney Jose Batista for open licensing board post

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – He’s not running for Rhode Island attorney general, but lawyer Jose Batista has been tapped for a different kind of government post.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has nominated Batista to a position on the city’s Board of Licenses, the five-member panel that processes more than 8,000 businesses licenses each year.

Batista’s appointment must be approved by the City Council.

(credit: José Batista law office)

A seat on the board is among the most coveted assignments in city government, in part because commissioners earn $19,713 a year for the part-time work. (The chairman is paid $26,850.) The board also regularly attracts media attention, usually when a nightclub or bar is called in for various violations.

The board is currently chaired by Dylan Conley. Charles Newton serves as vice chair. Other members include Delia Rodriguez-Masjoan and former City Council president Peter Mancini.

Batista briefly considered challenging former U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha in a Democratic primary for attorney general later this year, but has since announced he will not run for the office. He is a former president of the Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee.

Batista grew up in South Providence and graduated from Bryant University and Roger Williams School of Law. He runs a private law practice on Broad Street.

Batista will replace former state Sen. Juan Pichardo, who resigned from the board last year after criticism from the mayor over how the board handled a troubled nightclub in Fox Point.

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Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan