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Briden signals opposition to raises for top East Providence administrators

By   /   September 21, 2013  /   4 Comments

EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence City Council President James Briden signaled his opposition to some of the significant changes offered in the proposed Fiscal Year 2013-14 Budget presented to his body last week by City Manager Peter Graczykowski and Finance Director Malcolm Moore, including suggested pay raises for the latter two administrators.

Mr. Briden, the city’s ceremonial mayor, said at first glance he would not approve the significant hikes for Messrs. Graczykowski and Moore as well as that proposed for Human Resources Director Kathleen Waterbury. All three raises reach into five figures, Mr. Graczykowski’s approaching $25,000 in total compensation (pension, benefits, etc.) increases.

“I do not support those raises,” Mr. Briden said late last week. “My objective is for us to adhere as closely as we can to the five-year plan laid out for us by the Budget Commission.”

The crux of the Commission’s five-year plan for the city included consolidation throughout all departments, the satisfaction of all unpaid expenditures and to fully fund its annual pension obligations among other points of note. The proposed FY13-14 Budget presented by the current city administration does not do the latter, taking some $2.7 million from the police pension ARC and putting it aside to in part pay for an anticipated change to East Providence’s fiscal calendar.

“That is an issue we need to discuss with our new advisor,” Mr. Briden said, referring to recently installed Municipal Finance Advisor Paul Luba. Mr. Luba was hired for the position, which continues the state’s five-year oversight of the city per the Fiscal Stability Act, the legislation that created the Budget Commission.

“Again, my objective is really to adhere to the five-year plan and to work with Mr. Luba and our Finance Director in that regard,” Mr. Briden added. “I’m looking forward to getting Mr. Luba’s analysis on this matter and many others.”

Mr. Briden also said he’d like to spare any additional burden being put on taxpayers in the near future at the very least.

“The taxpayers of this city need a break, and I’m not just saying that. I mean it sincerely,” he added. “When I walked the campaign last year I met a lot of people who are on fixed incomes that really can’t afford the slightest increase in their taxes. And we also have a number of residents who remain unemployed and have been for the last several years. You don’t often hear about them and they’re not part of the statistics because they’ve simply given up looking for work. They can’t afford any increases either.”

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4 Comments

  1. Jake says:

    Councilman Briden, I have to agree with you, so many still unemployed and without health insurance struggling to stay in their own homes.
    Some of our schools are without textbooks, residents have to raise money for school sports because the city claims there is no money for this. Yet the city manager states the city has a surplus, is this surplus money giving raises, instead of giving our children text books and school sports? How can anyone in be thinking about giving raises on the backs of the taxpayers. How much will our property taxes rise to cover this?
    I do hope that you are not the only person sitting on the council that can see this should not happen. I certainly would like to hear from the other council people on how they feel about this?

    • I agree wholeheartedly with the previous comments. I cannot believe that the people we put in our city government are more concerned with their pockets than they are with all of the citizens of East Providence. As soon as the budget commission submits their recommendations, the first thing these people think of is “How can this benefit me?’ This is totally unacceptable. Working in local government is “public service” not “self service.” I encourage everyone who lives in East Providence to let their voices be heard on this subject. The situation won’t change unless we stand up for ourselves.

  2. I totally agree with Jake and Mr. Brieden. No new raises! IF there is indeed a surplus, then rather than give out raises, we should spend the money needed to educate our kids and give them the books that they need. How selfish of the City Manager to give himself a rasise and ignor the needs of the children in this City?
    What does he feel that he has done to warrant sucha huge raise, in the first place, and how dare he ignore the children and such needed books???
    I say let’s look for a new City Manager who has his priorities in the right order. He quite clearly, doesn’t. He puts him self frist! WRONG!! I encourage the City Council to begin a search for a new City Manager. And no Manager gets any contract…ever! Buying out contracts is too expensive and we should use that money for many other more imprtant things.

  3. Biker says:

    I believe that Mr. Luba was hired by the budget commission to make sure nothing foolish like this is done with what the budget commission put in place for the next five year’s that it stays intact. I do not believe taking money from the police pension ARC is the right thing to do. One of the reasons the city was in trouble was because of under funded pensions.
    Is the city manager planning on asking the state to fund the pension of the police department with Google money again?
    Our schools are crumbling, our kids have no text books, parents are raising money for our kids to have school sports, and the city manager is giving raises?
    What is wrong with this picture?
    Time to bring back the Budget Commission.

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