EAST PROVIDENCE — During what was expected to be its final meeting of its second stint in city, the East Providence Budget Commission confirmed Paul Luba as the state-appointed Municipal Finance Advisor and Oscar Elmasian as the permanent fire chief among other business Thursday afternoon, Sept. 12.
The Commission agreed unanimously to support the naming of Mr. Luba, a long-time executive of the Massachusetts-based textiles firm The Robert Allen Group, as the MFA. State Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly made the initial appointment. Mr. Luba will serve at the director’s pleasure for a period of five years per the continued oversight clause of the Fiscal Stability Act.
Mr. Luba, of Warwick, was present at the Budget Commission Thursday. He will officially start in his new position on Monday morning, Sept. 16, to coincide with the dissolution of the Commission, which has been running the city for the better part of the last 20 months.
“I’m really looking forward to serving the citizens of East Providence,” Mr. Luba said, addressing those also gather at the meeting. “I know you’ve come a long way towards achieving fiscal stability in the city. I’m going to do what I can to help you stay there.”
In introducing Mr. Luba, Director Gallogly noted the changes made to the MFA position by the General Assembly during the most recent session. Key among the amendments to the legislation was removing the MFA from any personnel matters while also clarifying the duty’s of the position and the reporting structure.
Mr. Luba will work closely with City Manager Peter Graczykowski and City Finance Director Malcolm Moore. He will report regularly to Director Gallogly as well as the State Auditor General, the City Council and the Finance Committee chairmen for the State House of Representatives and Senate, East Providence pols Helio Melo and Daniel DaPonte, respectively.
“I think this a great opportunity for the city to move forward and stay on a path of fiscal stability,” Director Gallogly said. “I think Paul will be a great resource for the Council and the School Committee. Paul will be an independent voice, but also a resource. He’ll have an office right here in City Hall. I think he will be a great, great help to the city.”
Mr. Luba will receive a base salary of $90,000 per annum during his five-year stay, a sum split evenly by the state and city. His total compensation package, including benefits, is not expected to exceed $130,000, according to Commission and Deputy Director of Revenue Christy Healey.
Elmasian named chief
Chief Elmasian, like Mr. Lupa, was unanimously approved by the Commission to take over his position atop the East Providence Fire Department on a permanent basis effective immediately.
Chief Elmasian has been serving as acting chief since the end of December 2012 when Joseph Klucznik retired from the job. The 27-year EPFD veteran, most recently a captain and the city’s fire marshal, scored the highest (93.33 points) of three internal candidates considered during the examination process.
“Chief Elmasian has done an excellent job. I’m very happy the Commission agreed with my recommendation to make him the chief on a permanent basis,” said Mr. Graczykowski. “I believe he will lead the department very skillfully. I have all the confidence in his abilities.”
Added Budget Commission Chairman Diane Brennan, “I’m glad to see the outcome. Chief Elmasian was head and shoulders above the other candidates.”
In other city side business, the Commission approved the appointment of Nicole Amaral as Building and Zoning Clerk and the promotion of John Sequeira to a captain in the East Providence Police Department.
Capt. Sequeira, who has served the last several months in the position on an interim basis, compiled the highest score (122.17) of eight candidates who took the captain’s test. He will continue in his current assignment as captain of EPPD Detectives.
The Commission gave its final approval to contracts with the East Providence Professional, Managerial and Technical Employees Association; Locals 11509 and 15509A and R.I. Council 94; the East Providence Educational Secretaries Association/NEARI; and the East Providence Education Association and East Providence Teacher Assistants Association.
Lastly, the Commission approved the School Department hires submitted by Superintendent Kim Mercer. They include Christina Farley, Math teacher at Martin Middle School; Stefanie Edwards, Special Education teacher at Francis Elementary; Joanne Mitchell, Reading Specialist at Martin; Barbara McIntosh, Reading Specialist at Riverside Middle; Michelle Chamberlain, Special Education/Resource teacher at Kent Heights Elementary; Kate Sweeney, Reading Specialist at Silver Spring Elementary; and Stephany Hull, Latin Teacher at East Providence High School.