WARWICK, RI — Mayor Joseph Solomon has hired the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) to review City finances, including the current budget and proposed FY19 budget.
RIPEC will also help temporarily staff the Finance and Treasury departments, following the loss of the city’s treasurer and impending loss of the finance director, all for $16,000, Solomon said.
Warwick’s Finance Director Bruce Keiser resigned abruptly May 18 at 3:57 p.m., and City Treasurer Brian Silvia has announced he will step down after the 2018 budget is presented to accept the role of Finance Director in Coventry.
“The unexpected resignation of the Finance Director and the imminent departure of the Treasurer have left us at a significant disadvantage at a particularly critical time of year,” he continued. “RIPEC’s wise counsel and the addition of some of their employees to our finance staff on an interim basis will be extremely beneficial to us. I am grateful to John Simmons, RIPEC’s executive director, for his willingness to assist the City in this way.”
Solomon said RIPEC’s reputation for serving the public good with a non-partisan and non-profit approach drew him to reach out to the 76-year-old organization. Their team has been working to review the city’s finances, meeting with former finance directors, department heads, Council members and attending meetings, since May 29, when he announced their hire, Solomon said.
“For $16,000 I couldn’t have a short term worker to come in,” Solomon said.
Solomon and Simmons said that RIPEC will develop a fiscal model, which will include a revenue analysis and examination of spending patterns, to estimate the future impacts of current financial decisions.
An operational plan will take a multi-faceted, multi-year approach to address issues, identify opportunities, and items to be accomplished as well as to establish a way forward, Mayor Solomon said.
“I look forward to working with Mayor Solomon to review the financial structure and position of the City,” Simmons said. “With the loss of two key personnel, this is a very appropriate time for us to look at the structure and provide staffing assistance in the short-term.”
“My administration has inherited a backlog of issues that are hampering the financial operations of the city and need to be addressed,” he said. “As we go forward, if it becomes apparent that we need to extend the scope of services, or retain personnel for a longer period of time, that is something we will certainly take a look at.RIPEC has a tremendous reputation throughout the state, and, for this modest investment of funds, we are going to get far beyond our money’s worth in the expertise and assistance RIPEC will offer.”