WARWICK, RI — It could be another three weeks before the city releases information that WarwickPost.com requested about city staffing levels in FY18 and work done by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council during FY19.
Acting City Clerk Lynn D’Abrosca, in a letter dated Aug. 16, informed Publisher Rob Borkowski that “due to [the] voluminous nature of the request,” the city needs “additional time” to gather the documentation, and is exercising its rights under the Rhode Island Public Records law to take another 20 business days to collect and release the information.
On Aug. 5, WarwickPost.com filed a written request for the 88 positions that Mayor Joseph Solomon said were left unfilled during FY18, and for any documents related to RIPEC’s review of city finances that Solomon hired the organization to conduct in early 2019.
Solomon has claimed credit for the budget savings created by leaving the 88 positions unfilled in FY18, despite being appointed to the mayor’s office with 45 days left in that fiscal year.
According to the Blum, Shapiro and Associates audit for FY18, Warwick finished the fiscal year with more in its so-called “rainy day fund” than Solomon had estimated at his state of the city address in February, although the city’s total reserve accounts were actually reduced by some $6 million. | Read: Auditing Solomon’s Claims About the New Warwick Audit
In its request, WarwickPost.com is seeking the full list of 88 positions, “including department, salary/benefits amount, and total amount saved” from the city.
Seeking information on RIPEC’s work
In May, 2018, Solomon hired RIPEC “to review the financial structure and position of the City,” as RIPEC Executive Director John Simmons described the group’s role.
Solomon also said at the time that RIPEC employees would staff the city’s finance and treasurer’s departments, after former Finance Director Bruce Keiser abruptly resigned, and former Treasurer Brian Silvia announced he was taking a new position in Coventry.
WarwickPost.com has requested the review done by RIPEC, along with a “listing of all positions filled by RIPEC, including department and salary/benefits” for each position.
“Warwick’s taxpayers deserve a full accounting of these two issues, which are critical to understanding the city’s recent financial operations,” said Borkowski. “We look forward to the city fully complying with state laws governing the release of this public information.”