Budget Commission will transfer control back to East Providence Council, City Manager; no AFO will be named
EAST PROVIDENCE — At its final scheduled meeting Thursday afternoon, March 28, the Budget Commission will transfer all authority back to the East Providence City Council and City Manager, but contrary to earlier reports an Administrative and Financial Officer (AFO) will not be named by the state body as it ends its oversight of the city.
The AFO is a position written into the legislative package that created the Budget Commission statute. The position is part of the five-year extended state oversight of municipalities once the Commission is dissolved.
However, the legislation was written with a strong-mayoral form of government in mind, rather than the City Manager form used by East Providence.
The duties of the AFO, as has been pointed out by many, are basically a duplication of the City Manager's chores in East Providence. Because of that, there's been much deliberation about the necessity of hiring an AFO in the East Providence, which would come at a significant cost to the city. Projections put the position of AFO having an annual cost of over $125,000 with a total price tag in the range of $750,000 over five years.
With that in mind, sources indicated for the moment the state is willing to allow the Budget Commission to adjourn and return day-to-day operations of East Providence to the City Manager and other powers to the City Council pending further evaluation of the situation.
Three scenarios are likely to play out: 1. Current City Manager Peter Graczykowski will receive a contract that will include language authorizing him as the AFO; 2. Mr. Graczykowski will be relieved of his duties and an AFO/City Manager will be hired in consultation with the State Department of Revenue; or 3. Mr. Graczykowski will remain as City Manager and an AFO will be hired on a limited basis and at a significantly reduced salary.