NP School Committee Doesn’t Understand the Pension Mess?

While this doesn’t rise to the level of corruption recently seen in North Providence, one has to be left wondering if the North Providence School Committee “gets it”. Time and time again, we see where local school committees and town councils will negotiate contracts that are just unsustainable and unaffordable in the future. In North Providence, they might have done it again.
The assistant superintendent left to assume the top role in Woonsocket leaving the city without an assistant. So Superintendent Donna Ottaviano stepped up and offered to do the job, along with her own duties:

(Committee member Gina) Picard said that Ottaviano at first suggested that she be paid $50,000 for the work, but was met by opposition mainly from Picard.

Eventually, the two sides agreed that the compensation should be an additional $35,000 on top of her current $123,000 salary. On the face of it, it sounds like a great idea. Pay $35,000 for someone to do a job that previously cost $98,000 a year. Except there’s this issue of a pension system that we’re all dealing with and this one deal would make things worse.

a move that potentially boosted her pension by more than $18,600 a year, or nearly $500,000 over the next 20 years with cost-of-living adjustments.

Mayor Lombardi and the rest of the School Committee heard so many complaints from the town’s taxpayers, that the committee reconvened Tuesday night and backed off the deal, deciding instead to hire an assistant superintendent, part-time.
What happened to due diligence? Don’t most towns have a Finance Director who knows with some research what the financial impact is of every move, every contract signing? If so, was this done? If so, did the committee not care?
The latter is possible:

[Chairman Anthony Marciano] discounted the $487,000 pension boost that the pay hike would give Ottaviano.
“I don’t think you can really say that because the pensions are very precarious right now. I don’t think you can say that, because the General Assembly is working on coming up with something different,” said Marciano, a former state senator.

So just sign the contracts and hope that the General Assembly fixes it later. That’s leadership?
Yes, North Providence, this is who you elected.

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Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

I love this line:
“When I leave, the institutional knowledge will be gone.”
Whoaaa!!! Stop the presses. We can’t have that now. Talk about being impressed with yourself.

Justin Katz
Justin Katz
10 years ago

I’m wondering how a full-time superintendent has the time to take on the tasks of a full-time assistant, too.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“[Chairman Anthony Marciano] discounted the $487,000 pension boost that the pay hike would give Ottaviano. “I don’t think you can really say that because the pensions are very precarious right now. I don’t think you can say that, because the General Assembly is working on coming up with something different,” said Marciano, a former state senator.”
What????? Let’s continue handing out monstrous pensions and maybe – MAYBE – the General Assembly will save us from our own decision by pruning them back???
I applaud the School Committee for reconsidering this compensation package. But the above logic is stupefying and dangerous. Let it be an isolated, one-off glitch, definitely not to be emulated anywhere else in the state.

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