Not Only Did Cicilline Empty the Reserve Fund To Balance the Budget, He Lied About Doing So
When a new audit confirmed last month that David Cicilline had depleted Providence’s reserve fund, he defended the action, saying
We had to make some difficult choices, people can disagree with those to accomplish a balanced budget, I believe those were the right choices in terms of protecting services and balancing all the equities.
Then-Mayor Cicilline took rather a different tone in October, however, when he was busted cold and confronted with his action.
“This report was given to talk radio and the media and never even passed on to the City Council,” Cicilline said Friday morning. “It’s absolutely false. The city has made its [pension] payments according to the traditional schedule that it uses. The reserves are well above what they are supposed to be.”
Side note: “well above what they are supposed to be”??? As WRNI points out, that would have been $30 million. But there was only $17 million in the reserve fund even BEFORE Mayor Cicilline raided it!
What happened? What was different in October? Well, the mayor was running for Congress. He had just made the decision to deplete Providence’s reserve fund as the final step to balancing the budget. But he was clearly concerned about backlash from voters for this egregious budget fix.
So he lied. He lied about what was in the reserve fund. And he lied about emptying the reserve fund.
Confronted with his action once again in early Feb, the junior congressman, now safely out of Dodge, this time admitted the action but defended it. (Now he’s not saying much of anything.)
The congressman presumably believed that this was a righteous (if “difficult”) action, otherwise, he would not have taken it. Why, then, was it necessary to lie about it?