How many variations of Frank Montanaro exist in and around state government?

Katherine Gregg reports for the Providence Journal the labor-union scion’s latest play to get everything he can out of Rhode Island taxpayers.  Putting things chronologically might help to make it clear:

  • Montanaro was elected to the General Assembly in 1986, at the age of 24 or 25.  Under the rules existing at the time, he could begin collecting a $5,400 annual pension now or roll the nine years he logged before that abusive benefit was ended in the mid-’90s into his state-employee pension for bigger bucks.
  • Based on Gregg’s reporting, the next year (1987), Montanaro began his job at Rhode Island College, where he worked until 2014, finishing with a salary of $83,536 according to the state’s transparency portal and building credit toward an undisclosed pension.
  • In 2014, he moved to a job with the state legislature upon Nicholas Mattiello’s ascendance to the speakership, with around the same pay in 2014, moving to $131,222 in 2015.  This grew to $167,117 in 2020 while earning him credit toward a state-government pension.
  • As was widely reported when discovered three years after Montanaro’s move to the State House, he continued to receive free tuition from RIC for his family, totaling $50,000, although he pledged to pay most of that back when he was caught.  So far, he has repaid $14,318.
  • With Mattiello gone, Montanaro has moved on to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, which is technically a quasi-public agency, so he received $49,877 in severance from the state, mostly reflecting unused vacation time from over three decades of state employment.
  • His pay with RIPTA will be $113,101.

All of this makes Montanaro the most prolific known leverager of state and local government employment schemes and gimmicks, but he’s surely only the leading representative of a thoroughly corrupt system of such schemes and gimmicks.  Recall recent news that Jim Hummel broke about the way Warwick firefighters leverage overtime rules to rack up six figures of overtime each year.

Maybe Montanaro is the most abusive.  Or maybe he’s just been the sloppiest and gotten caught.  Or maybe he’s just drawn the media’s attention for some reason.  But he’s not the only person playing these games for taxpayer money.  Our government would be a lot less expensive if he were.

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