The Current Administration and the Mayoral Candidates on Which City of Providence Accounts are the Reserve Accounts
I contacted Karen Watts, the communications director for the City of Providence, to ask which city accounts should be counted as the reserve funds that the Cicilline administration claims contain $30 million, given that the City Auditor claims there are only $4.6 million in the reserves and provided specific account numbers and balances in support of that claim. Ms. Watts responded that…
The total of the City’s reserves as of June 30, 2010 is a little over $30 million. The Council’s Internal Auditor’s statement regarding the City’s reserves is incorrect.I also contacted the campaign of Providence Democratic Mayoral candidate Angel Tavares, to ask what his understanding is of which accounts constitute the city’s reserve funds, and whether Mr. Tavares had any general comment on the balance levels reported by the auditor. A spokesperson for Mr. Tavares’ campaign responded that their current focus is on the November 2 election and suggested that I contact City Hall for the information (not realizing that I had contacted City Hall and both Providence Mayoral campaigns in my initial round of inquiries).
Independent Providence Mayoral candidate Jon Scott responded to the questions on the auditor’s report and which city accounts constitute the reserves with the statement that…
I am not certain that the two accounts in question – the reserve contingency and capital asset accounts- are the sole accounts that comprise the city’s reserve funding. I am certain that both the internal auditor. Mr Lombardi and the external, Braver Assoc, have been stonewalled by the current Mayor as they sought answers to their questions which were along the same lines.
If the accusation of political hijinks that the Mayor alleges is possible then it is also possible that the Mayor has been trying to hold off on the reports of those numbers until after the election.
My opponent had an op ed in Sunday’s ProJo saying that he would continue to build on the city’s economic strength and credits Mr Cicilline with that strength. I would hardly call the depletion of on account by 80 percent and the negative numbers in an account that recently held 14.4m “economic strength”.
It is understandable that the Council members are asking questions themselves and that they are making conflicting statements. We, as politicians are not experts at everything. RFPs go out for services and some become slaves to the cheapest. We must bring in good people who understand these processes.
That’s why I pledge that we will bring in the best municipal turnaround experts available – and make no mistake we have them locally. Braver knows what they are doing but the cannot get it right if they don’t have an administration that is in full cooperation and the Council will be in the dark if Braver is. So, along those lines, not only will I hire the best, both internally and externally, I will ensure that they have the information to do their job and I will ensure that the public has an online and transparent view of every city contract and every check that is written over 100 dollars.
The verge of bankruptcy is unacceptable in a city as great as Providence but it is business as usual and business as usual is bad business for Providence.