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Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not in RI Politics?

Friday, February 28, 2014

 

HOT: Scott Avedisian

Every Friday, Dan Lawlor breaks down who's rising and who's falling in the world of Rhode Island politics. Check out who made the lists this week.

Hot

Scott Avedisian - In some corners of Providence, there is tremendous excitement for the proposed $20 million re-design of Kennedy Plaza (how many of the excited now ride the buses, I'm not sure). Kudos to Scott Avedisian, the Warwick Mayor and RIPTA Board Chair, for being clear to Mayor Taveras that RIPTA doesn't have an extra "pot of money" for the re-design beyond its original $700,000 commitment. "We have a finite amount of money that RIPTA has set aside to be part of this process," the Journal reported Avedisian saying. If Mayor Taveras is a real believer in a new Kennedy Plaza, he'll need to convince a wider base of donors.

Allan Fung and Angel Taveras - As the Boston Globe reports, "Taveras, a Democrat, and Fung, a Republican, are both running for governor. Last year they co-hosted 11 career fairs that attracted 265 businesses and more than 1700 job seekers." Despite their rivalry, the two mayors (and high school classmates) announced they will sponsor at least eight joint job fairs this year. Bipartisanship is nearly dead in Congress, but at least not among our Mayors.

Caitlin Frumerie - Mayor Taveras' Director of Community Development and a whole team at city hall took the lead in realizing the " Storefront Improvement Program," a $250,000 HUD initiative, providing reimbursement grants on a first come, first serve basis to local businesses to improve signage and design. According to the City, "Businesses are eligible to receive reimbursements for 50-percent of eligible storefront improvement costs, up to $10,000." This tangible program is part of the Mayor's 20-step economic development plan, originally announced a year ago.

Susan Lusi/Providence Schools - The Superintendent recently testified at the State House, strongly concerned with the impact of the NECAP graduation requirement, the difficulty and confusion connected with the implementation of waivers, and expressed disappointment at the number of free and reduced lunch students affected. Keith Oliveira, the chair of the Providence School Board, also spoke on the negative consequences for students and districts of the current RIDE policy.

Lisa Ranglin/RI Black Business Association - The RI Black Business Association is working with a range of community groups (from the NAACP to the RI African Alliance) to host its first ever Mayoral Candidate Forum on March 20th, from 6-8pm at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Cranston St. Ranglin notes, "Since our formation in 2010, the Association has dedicated itself to providing assistance to small businesses within Rhode Island."

9%- " Rhode Island’s homeless population is on the decline for the first time since 2007," as the RI Coalition for the Homeless told Go Local Prov. "The 2013 data shows that the number of homeless individuals decreased from 4,868 in 2012 to 4,447 in 2013, which is a 9% dip." Furthermore, GoLocal learned, "With the recent funding of $750,000 for rental vouchers by the Legislature, 125 of the most chronic homeless are in the process of being housed."

Rhode Island Farmers - "Rhode Island added 24 farms between 2007 and 2012, an increase of 2 percent. New England had an increase of 5 percent," Tim Faulkner of Eco RI reports. According to the US Department of Agriculture, "In 2012, the United States had 2.1 million farms – down 4.3 percent from the last agricultural Census in 2007." Kudos to groups like Farm Fresh for promoting local produce!

George Marshall/CEO, Rhode Island International Film Festival - For 18 years, RIIFF has been a showcase of talent and film. This Sunday, March 2nd at 6pm, RIIFF is hosting the Red Carpet Experience, a fun event and telecast at the Vets Auditorium for the 86th Academy Awards. Two powerful short films that premiered here in Rhode Island are now up for an Academy Award - "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life," by Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed (A documentary short about the world's oldest Holocaust survivor- who also plays piano) and "The Voorman Problem" by Mark Gil and Baldwin Li, Honlodge Producitons (A narrative short about prisoner who believes he is a god). Check out the trailers for both films!

NOT: Cox Communications

Not

Patrick Esser/President, Cox Communications - All businesses have a right to make new plans, but how depressing. Reportedly, Cox Communications' 19 existing call centers throughout the country will be consolidated into seven, larger regional centers. From San Diego to West Warwick, thousands will be affected by the closings. Locally, up to 234 employees could lose work .

Robert De Robbio/Urban League - “The report shows they haven’t made payroll in months and are unable to pay their bills. They appear to be insolvent,” David Ortiz, Mayor Taveras' Communication Director, told the Journal on the results of a recent city-paid audit by Sansiveri, Kimball & Co. The Providence American reports Belinda Francis, a Providence College alum, has been appointed new interim executive director, and De Robbio has been in contact with the National Urban League to "actively engage" with the search for a new CEO. Questions remain: What is the vision for the organization today? What internal checks and balances must be added? What is the plan for success in the next five years?

Susan Lusi/Providence Schools - Allegedly, the bubblers at Roger Williams Middle School are releasing water of an unnatural color. Please fix this.

Phone A Friend - Numerous former Rhode Islander legislators - notably Stephen AlvesRobert GoldbergGeorge Caruolo, and, of course, former Speaker Bill Murphy - are making quite a bit of money selling their inside knowledge for cash. It seems hard for bills like payday lending reform to get a fair hearing when paid phone calls from friends run interference.

Chung Cho/Gourmet Heaven - Gourmet Heaven, the downtown eatery, is known for its salad bar, balcony, and sandwiches. Unfortunately, it's also involved in severe labor violations. According to the New Heaven Register , Cho, the owner of the popular deli and eatery, was arrested for more than 20 alleged wage violations, totaling over $200,000. Gourmet Heaven has locations in both Providence and New Haven.

 

Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Highest Paid Mayors and Managers

The Rhode Island Department of Revenue's Office of Local Government Assistance, for the past 23 years, has conducted an "annual salary survey" of municipal positions in the state.  

Below are the salaries reported for chief executives -- Mayors or Town Managers ranked by municipalities (with the position) in 2012, from lowest to highest.   According to the survey, the amount "does not include fringe benefit data."  

Positions appointed are indicated with an (A); positions elected are marked with an (E).  

Prev Next

#33 Central Falls

Chief Executive Pay: $26,000 (E)

Finance Director: $87,125
 
Planning Director: $66,625
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#32 Richmond

Chief Executive Pay: $51,500 (A)

Finance Director: $56,706
 
Planning Director: $50,218
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#31 West Greenwich

Chief Executive Pay: $60,866 (A)

Finance Director: N/A
 
Planning Director: $52,412
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#30 Cumberland

Chief Executive Pay: $67,799 (E)

Finance Director: (Vacant -- PT)
 
Planning Director: $70,250
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#29 Warren

Chief Executive Pay: $70,000 (A)

Finance Director: $62,424
 
Planning Director: $52,020
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#28 North Smithfield

Chief Executive Pay: $71,289 (E)

Finance Director: $71,235
 
Planning Director: $58,394
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#27 North Providence

Chief Executive Pay: $75,000 (E)

Finance Director: $52,000
 
Planning Director: $62,098
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#26 Johnston

Chief Executive Pay: $75,000 (E)

Finance Director: $95,000
 
Planning Director: $69,746
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#25 Lincoln

Chief Executive Pay: $78,677 (E)

Finance Director: $80,610
 
Planning Director: $67,709
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#24 Woonsocket

Chief Executive Pay: $80,000 (E)

Finance Director: $90,000
 
Planning Director: $82,750
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#23 Cranston

Chief Executive Pay: $80,765 (E)

Finance Director: $96,425
 
Planning Director: $75,247
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#22 Bristol

Chief Executive Pay: $81,162 (E)

Finance Director: N/A
 
Planning Director: $78,438
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#21 Tiverton

Chief Executive Pay: $83,900 (A)

Finance Director: N/A
 
Planning Director: Vacant
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#20 Pawtucket

Chief Executive Pay: $84,253 (E)

Finance Director: $82,000
 
Planning Director: $72,269
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#19 Hopkinton

Chief Executive Pay: $89,000 (A)

Finance Director: $73,043
 
Planning Director: $51,816
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#18 Charlestown

Chief Executive Pay: $93,000 (A)

Finance Director: N/A
 
Planning Director: $67,546
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#17 New Shoreham

Chief Executive Pay: $95,146 (A)

Finance Director: $85,058
 
Planning Director: N/A
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#16 Warwick

Chief Executive Pay: $100,000 (E)

Finance Director: $118,249
 
Planning Director: $97,648
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#15 Smithfield

Chief Executive Pay: $100,940 (A)

Finance Director: $77,250
 
Planning Director: $65,920
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#14 Jamestown

Chief Executive Pay: $106,957 (A)

Finance Director: $82,426
 
Planning Director: $71,481
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#13 Burrillville

Chief Executive Pay: $110,520 (A)

Finance Director: $80,000
 
Planning Director: $80,000
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#12 North Kingstown

Chief Executive Pay: $111,394 (A)

Finance Director: $82,442
 
Planning Director: $82,442
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#11 Westerly

Chief Executive Pay: $117,305 (A)

Finance Director: $106,088
 
Planning Director: $76,812
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#10 West Warwick

Chief Executive Pay: $120,000 (A)

Finance Director: $91,357
 
Planning Director: $69,000
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#9 Coventry

Chief Executive Pay: $122,000 (A)

Finance Director: $97,150
 
Planning Director: $83,884
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#8 Providence

Chief Executive Pay: $123,762 (E)

Finance Director: $140,000
 
Planning Director: $85,098
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#7 East Providence

Chief Executive Pay: $125,000 (A)

Finance Director: $112,210
 
Planning Director: $97,350
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#6 Portsmouth

Chief Executive Pay: $126,000 (A)

Finance Director: $95,819
 
Planning Director: $78,382
 
Prev Next

#5 East Greenwich

Chief Executive Pay: $131,005 (A)

Finance Director: $96,255
 
Planning Director: $77,835
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#4 Newport

Chief Executive Pay: $135,000 (A)

Finance Director: $120,799
 
Planning Director: $100,531
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#3 Barrington

Chief Executive Pay: $143,977 (A)

Finance Director: $106,194
 
Planning Director: $75,716
Prev Next

#2 Middletown

Chief Executive Pay: $147,350 (A)

Finance Director: $97,025
 
Planning Director: $89,436
Prev Next

#1 South Kingstown

Chief Executive: $153,853 (A)

Finance Director: $119,610
 
Planning Director: $93,181
 
 

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