Editorial: East Providence Budget Commission has made some missteps

EAST PROVIDENCE — The Post has been a strong supporter of the East Providence Budget Commission, and has been so for good reason. The state-appointed board has governed and managed the city in the proper way, meticulously going through the books and weeding out waste where warranted. For that, they deserve ample credit.

However, if there is one real criticism of the Budget Commission it comes in the manner by which it has gone about dealing with personnel decisions.

If what it’s accomplished on the fiscal side deserves a letter grade approaching an “A” if not higher, then its handling of filling some of the large voids in the administration on both the city and school sides, in all fairness, is barely above passing.

The Commission has known for several months, if not from the moment it took over governance of East Providence, that Edward Daft was not long for the School Superintendent position. Mr. Daft, who took over as Interim Super almost a year ago, made no secret of his desire not to take the job on a full-time basis. Yet the Commission brought the search for a permanent Superintendent to a halt and is now scrambling to find a replacement for Mr. Daft, who is leaving the system for a job as Barrington High School assistant principal at the close of this week’s business.

The Commission has also failed to find a permanent Director of Human Resources for the city and the School Department, relying instead on state worker Heather Martino to fill the post on a temporary basis. Ms. Martino appears to be quite capable, but she likely isn’t a long-term option.

Likewise, the Commission has yet to make a move on finding someone to take over the consolidated position of Finance Director in the wake of the departures of both Mary King and Ellen Eggeman from their respective jobs on the school and city side. Here again, the Commission has resorted to the temporary placement of John Cimino in the position. Again, it is very unlikely Mr. Cimino is in it for the long haul.

Going about filling these quite important roles, not to mention some of the other vacant administrative posts both in the city and in the schools, has not proven to be a strong point of the Commission.

Maybe it is acting on the vacancies away from public view. If it is, then that would be almost diametrically opposed to the way it has managed financial matters.

That, though, is a forgivable sin.

If the Commission isn’t taking aggressive action at all in regards to the many open positions, then that is very disappointing and takes away somewhat from all the other good it has achieved so far.

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