Letter: Post erred in Commission coverage
To the editor,
I asked the City Manager for CLARIFICATION of R.I.G.L. 45-9 because of comments (article written by editor Mike Rego) in The Post by Mr. Rego on September 19th. I believed his report to be inaccurate and I wanted to clear the air. I was not looking for a legal opinion, simply an explanation. I rely on the City Manager for explanations every day. It’s his job.
I felt Mr. Rego’s comments, “there always remains a chance the Budget Commission could be reconvened” and “the last time Director Gallogly tried to dissolve the Commission” were giving people the wrong impression.
Mr. Rego quoted Director Gallogly as stating “I’m confident we won’t have to come back, providing nothing out of the ordinary occurs”. Mr. Rego also wrote “the Commission was dissolved for a second time on Monday, Sept. 16” and then quoted Gallogly again as saying “We could still come back if we had to”.
The fact of the matter is the budget commission only “delegated power back to the city” in March. It did not “dissolve” twice as was suggested by Mr. Rego. Mr. Rego knew better and even reported on March 28th “And while the Commission signed off on its daily oversight of East Providence…did not entirely dissolve the five-member body.”
First off, Director Gallogly’s statement “providing nothing out of the ordinary occurs” was extremely vague and suggestive. There is nothing “ordinary” about municipal government.
Second, there are certain criteria that would have to be met to bring a budget commission to a city. They are actually spelled out in the legislation and that is what the City Manager explained at the meeting.
Third the law reads… “A Fiscal Overseer may be appointed, under R.I.G.L. § 45-9-3(a), upon a joint request by the City’s elected Chief Executive Officer and City Council…” The City of East Providence does NOT have an elected Chief Executive Officer. That would be a REAL mayor. We have a City Manager and he is hired by the council. It’s spelled out in our City Charter in the following two sections:
Sec. 2-10. Appointment of city manager…The council shall appoint an officer of the city who shall have the title of city manager and shall have the powers and perform the duties provided in this Charter.
Sec. 3-3. Powers and duties…The city manager shall be the chief executive officer and the head of the administrative branch of the city government.
Lastly, under R.I.G.L. § 45-9-3(b), the Director of Revenue may appoint a Fiscal Overseer if a city meets two of the criteria spelled out in the law. It refers to events which are of such magnitude that they threaten the fiscal well-being of a City or diminish the City's ability to provide for public safety or the welfare of the citizens.
East Providence does not meet any of the criteria listed and therefore, the budget commission cannot be brought back on a whim. This City would have to fail miserably and that will never happen again.
Councilman Chrissy Rossi
Ward 4, Riverside