“Spring forward, fall back” is a cute way to remember the seasons of the year when we’re supposed to change the time on our clocks, but it’s also a very apt description of what has taken place in East Providence over the last six months or so and what could be in store for the city if certain things occur during the next several weeks.
For the second time since the spring, the Budget Commission has been dissolved, last week holding what is expected to be its final meeting guiding East Providence. Both Commission Chairman Diane Brennan and State Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly expressed optimism about the city’s financial future. Both also said they hoped the work of the state appointees was done for good this time.
When the Commission was dissolved initially in March, however, City Manager Peter Graczykowski, certainly with a helping push by political forces, made a move to replace Police Chief Joseph Tavares. As everyone knows, though, it backfired. Director Gallogly reinstated the Commission within a few days and the chief was reinstated from a paid leave of absence.
This time around, Mr. Graczykowski, a mere 24 hours after the Commission once again took its departure upon the installation of Municipal Finance Advisor Paul Luba, submitted a curious proposed Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget to the City Council, one which gives himself and other top administrators sizable pay increases while not totally funding the retirement ARC for police officers among other questionable line items.
Who knows? Maybe there’s nothing wrong with the first-draft budget. Maybe Director Gallogly, Mr. Luba and others will see it as perfectly acceptable. The guess here, however, is that they might be a bit concerned, which means once again as the city is about to spring forward we’ll fall back into troubling old practices. Only time will tell if this is the case.