Memo to East Providence residents: State leaders do not have faith in our elected officials. In so many words last week and with her decision last month, State Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly said as much in an interview with The East Providence Post following the first meeting of the reseated Budget Commission.
The words of Director Gallogly weren’t quite that direct, but it certainly felt like there was an underlying message she was trying to get across in explaining her rationale for bringing back the Budget Commission for issues pertaining to personnel in the city. And if she didn’t quite come out and say state officials don’t trust East Providence’s elected officers and hired administrators, she left open the door for her words to be parsed in that manner.
Again, without using any names, Director Gallogly hinted at a lack of confidence in the performance of City Manager Peter Graczykowski and the City Council, specifically in regards to how the former went about placing Police Chief Joseph Tavares on administrative leave.
It goes without saying, the chief has some very powerful friends in the hierarchy of state government as well as some influential backers on the periphery of Smith Hill. However, Mr. Graczykowski, and by extension members of the Council, left himself open to question for the timing of his move on the chief, which came barely two weeks after the Commission returned all appropriate authority of city affairs to him and local peers.
Though still some 18 months away, the next election in East Providence is an extremely important one. City Councilors and School Committee members will be seated for four-year terms beginning in 2014.
The state delivered a subtle, if not intentional, message to the East Providence electorate in the last few weeks. If we want to have “real” control over our affairs, we better “hire” competent people at the ballot box next time out. If not, we should get used to being an underling of state authority.