Question #4 for David Cicilline on the Category 5 That’s Hit Providence

Former Providence Mayor David Cicilline’s statements, made to both Scott MacKay of WRNI (1290AM) and Alisha Pina of the Projo, that his administration withdrew funds from the city’s “reserves” to address the city’s deteriorating fiscal situation is a reversal of the basic position he had previously presented to the public.
Throughout the second half of 2010, Mayor Cicilline and members of his administration repeatedly denied that the reserves had been drawn down by $32 million, as was reported by City Auditor James Lombardi in a detailed report issued in October. On August 6 of 2010 — before the report was issued, but after the depletion of the reserves had occurred — Mayor Cicilline wrote this in the Projo…

Restoring the city’s financial integrity has been a top priority of my administration since I took office in 2003, after decades of corruption, waste and mismanagement. We have done that with excellent financial management, produced A ratings from all of the rating agencies, won national awards for financial reporting, built up our reserve accounts, and by tightly controlling spending.
After Auditor Lombardi’s report was made public, representatives of the Cicilline administration told various people seeking information; Philip Marcelo of the Projo, Stephen Beale of GoLocalProv, myself, etc. that the reserves had not been spent.
Learning now from Congressman David Cicilline that the reserves were spent raises several questions, relevant both to how he handled his job as Mayor and how he intends to handle the job of Congressman…
  • Given the timing of his statement from the August op-ed, does Congressman Cicilline believe it is possible to “build-up” a fund and spend it at the same time?
  • If Mayor Cicilline believed that Providence’s financial and economic situation did justify the use of the reserves, why was he unwilling to be forthcoming with his reasoning until now?
  • Should Congressman Cicilline’s constituents expect him to repeat the practice of not revealing policies and spending that he supports, until months after decisions that cannot be reversed are made?

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10 years ago

“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” –Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

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