Time to get lean, Warren


To the editor:

Now I have only lived in town for 20 years, so I am not sure that my comments are of value to some, but I am an accountant and something just doesn’t add up to me. First, I want to say that my Dad did janitorial work so I am not disrespecting that type of work. What I am having trouble understanding is that we are paying a janitor over $46,000 per year and we can’t change that because we are concerned about union repercussions. However, our full time tax assessor earns $47,070 per year! I would like someone to explain to the taxpayers of this great town how that makes any sense whatsoever. Cleanliness is important, but at almost the same cost as the tax assessor? Has zero based budgeting ever been considered?

Basically, this situation is one of the systematic problems that not only hurts our town, but our entire state. We need to change the system and if that means we need to deal with union lawsuits then maybe that is the price we need to pay to fix the system once and for all. Maybe we need to take a step back to move forward, to preserve our town and make it prosper for us today and for generations to come.

The game is over. We can no longer afford big government and doing things the way it has always been done is just not working, not just in our town but all over Rhode Island. We as a town and as a state must operate lean. When your household income is cut, you tighten up on expenses. It might not make everyone happy, but what is our alternative? Taxpayers cannot continue to incur tax increases. Do we continue doing things the same old way until someday our town and our state files for bankruptcy? I think many people will be very unhappy if that occurs. Also, if we are not careful, those who decided to move here may decide to leave, which will put our town deeper into a predicament. Don’t think that is possible? See what has happened to Detroit.

If we are afraid to try to work with all employees to put our town in a better position, then maybe we should try jumping on the trend of multi-tasking and train the janitor to do some other function too! Oh wait, sorry, unions probably wouldn’t go for that either.

David Oliveira

Schoolhouse Road




12 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
Amy Stone

well said

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 | Report this

The most professional letter I have seen in a long time and right on target. Thank You

Thursday, June 5, 2014 | Report this

Mr. Oliveira,

The full time Tax Assessor's work week is 30 hours. Her yearly pay is 47,070 divided by 52 weeks is 905.16 per week. That comes out to $30.17 an hour. If the Tax Assessor's work week was 40 hours like the janitor's job, the Tax Assessor's pay would be 62,746 a year. I hope I didn't lose you. Oh wait, sorry, you're an accountant. LOL

The $46,000 Multi Tasking Union Janitor ;)

Friday, June 6, 2014 | Report this


Friday, June 6, 2014 | Report this

Dear B Hutchinson,

Thank you for bringing to my attention that there is a difference in hours per week and yes this does make a difference. But, what cannot be argued is that Warren spends $47,070 for the function of collecting its revenue, while it spends over $46,000 for janitorial services for the Town Hall. I don't care how you cut it, it still makes no sense!

I wasn't trying to personally attack you, as I don't know you. But this was one example of how the town finances are out of whack. I am sure there are other areas that are problems too. That was the purpose of my letter. I am sure you too want the Town to prosper. If it doesn't and goes down the road of being unable to pay its bills many jobs will be affected.

David Oliveira

Saturday, June 7, 2014 | Report this


I work for the DPW with the title of Town Hall Janitor. I have many other responsibilities other than cleaning. I do landscaping, snow removal, plowing, sanding, painting, carpentry, plumbing, electrical all over town. I hold commercial driving licenses for tractor trailer and all other trucks at the DPW. If you have any questions about my job responsibilities or job performance please see Highway Director John Massed, Foreman Jan Malik or Town Manager Tom Gordon. I have worked diligently for the town longer than you have lived here. Does that make more sense to you now? Please do some research before you put a letter in the paper.

The $46,000 Multi Tasking Union Janitor

Saturday, June 7, 2014 | Report this

Dear Mr. Hutchinson,

Once again, and for the last time, I was not making a personal attack on you nor do I have a personal agenda against you. I don't even know you! But as I taxpayer I too have the right to question something. Sorry, if you think that I shouldn't have done it via the paper. Again, maybe since I have been here only 20 years I should just pay my taxes and keep quiet! Sorry, but there is still freedom of speech! Maybe too many of us have just sucked it up and paid all the tax increases over the years and said "that's the way it is." Again my letter's purpose was to get us all thinking of what are we going to do to make things better for ALL of us.

I too work, so unfortunately, I don't have the time to do a full research project on everyone's position, etc. I never questioned your quality of work or your qualifications, etc. My information came from the Town Budget. If the Town Budget does not clearly reflect all that is involved in your position, you can't blame the reader.

Just remember until we lose our freedom of speech, we all have the right to ask questions, whether you like it or not.

God Bless Warren and ALL of its residents!!!

David Oliveira

Saturday, June 7, 2014 | Report this


I agree 100% with freedom of speech, just remember to think before you speak.

You had the opportunity to ask questions about any and all line items (zero based budgeting) at four budget workshops advertised and held before the final town budget meeting. But you chose not to attend!

You stated in your letter you have lived in Warren for twenty years.

Yet you have not attended a single budget meeting. Four workshops each year for twenty years. That's 80 budget workshops you chose not to attend! I hope I didn't lose you again. Oh sorry, that's right, you're an accountant.

The Town of Warren's budget problems exist because the aid the state promised us for our school system has been revoked and for many years the method used for dividing the money per student appears to be wrong (still waiting for court decision).

So in addition of God blessing all residents of Warren maybe he should run for the School Committee too.

Your $46,000 Multi Tasking Union Janitor

Sunday, June 8, 2014 | Report this

Mr. Hutchinson,

I am sincere when I say that I am happy we have had this "discussion". I have learned quite a bit and am happy that you have taken the time to reply.

The truth is the truth. I have not attended budget workshops in the past. I, like many residents, have been plodding along in life trusting our leadership. We are all under time pressures and I am no different, with running a business, helping to raise our family, etc. I know that is not a good enough excuse, so I am not blaming anyone but myself. But frankly up until recently it seems our Town was running fine and we all become complacent.

You mention that our problems are a result of the school funding issues, but recently we have been told that even if the school funding lawsuit decision is in favor of the Town, that we still have budget issues. So, I can't be the only one wondering what went wrong? So, back to my original point, something doesn't seem right.

I do love this Town and the great people here and hope that my children will be able to stay here once they are grown. I assure you that from this point forward I will do what I need to do to be at budget workshops and as you keep reminding me that I am an accountant, I will lend my skills to do whatever I can to help.

You truly are a multi-tasking janitor! Hope to see you at the budget workshops.

Take care,

David Oliveira

Monday, June 9, 2014 | Report this

Mr. Oliveira,

I appreciate your letter and I am sure we can move forward from here. It would be great to have more residents at the budget workshops especially with a financial background. I am sure you would enjoy working with our Town Treasurer who appears to be a math wizard. He can pay our bills without any money. No, seriously, if more people attended these workshops that knew a little about math they wouldn't cut necessary positions in town and only save 2 cents on the tax rate.

And yes, I will see you at the budget meetings because I am also the $100 a year Town Sergeant.


Bruce D. Hutchison

Monday, June 9, 2014 | Report this


I know of a couple of other accountants that live in Town and obviously there are many others with financial backgrounds. I think that I will mention to the Town Treasurer that maybe we can direct a letter to any individuals with financial backgrounds to donate some time to our Town to help. Can't hurt!

Take care,


Monday, June 9, 2014 | Report this


The people that need the financial help are a small group of town residents (available on facebook) who recommended the cuts at the financial town meeting (available online) and one or two council members.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | Report this

2016 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Prudence Island · Riverside · Rumford · Seekonk · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.