After a review of the matter by City Solicitor Peter Ruggiero, Ward 8 Councilman Raymond Gallucci has refunded the money he was paid to help clean up storm debris.
Last Thursday, the $9,675 Gallucci received for operating his front-end loader for nearly 60 hours to help clean up damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August was reimbursed to the city upon his request to contractor C.P. Watson, Inc. Watson subcontracted Gallucci and paid him $160 an hour for his services.
The issue came to light following a recent report on WPRI Channel 12.
While Gallucci, who chairs the Council Finance Committee, didn’t want to go on the record, he shared a Feb. 8 letter he sent to C.P. Watson.
In the letter, he wrote that he was not aware of the city ordinance provision prior to a complaint being filed with the city.
The ordinance reads, “No elected official…shall knowingly receive or agree to receive, either personally or through another, compensation for any services to be rendered, either by himself/herself or another, in matters with the city or an agency of city.”
Once he became aware of the complaint, he stated in the letter that he consulted with an attorney who advised him that leasing equipment to C.P. Watson did not fall within the definition of service rendered.
He wrote that his attorney also advised him that since he was not hired to operate the machine prior to the company being awarded the “emergency contract” and that he was not compensated until after he performed the work, his actions do not fall within the definition of compensation.
Gallucci further wrote, “Not withstanding the fact that I have been advised that my actions do not constitute a violation of the ordinance. I believe that elected officials should not avoid any impropriety but also the appearance of impropriety. Please reimburse the City of Warwick for the funds that you paid me.”