Ward 8 Councilman Raymond Gallucci is being investigated by the City of Warwick for a subcontract he was paid in the amount of $9,675, as he used his front-end loader to help clean up damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August. He operated his vehicle for nearly 60 hours during the cleanup.
According to a report by Walt Buteau of WPRI-TV, C.P. Watson, one of 16 companies contracted by the city during a no-bid emergency procurement, hired Gallucci. Buteau reported that the company was paid nearly $21,000 of the $703,000 Warwick spent on storm cleanup.
Gallucci said he was unable to comment, as the investigation ensues. A call was also made to C.P. Watson. They failed to return the call by press time.
“From the city’s perspective, the city hasn’t done anything improper,” Mark Carruolo, the mayor’s chief of staff, said yesterday. He said the contract had been issued on an “emergency declaration” and that Gallucci, who chairs the Council Finance Committee, had not been involved in issuing a contract.
Carruolo said that City Solicitor Peter Ruggiero is investigating.
An attorney for the Ethics Commission reported to WPRI-TV that under state law, an elected official is prohibited to accept bid contracts and that Gallucci’s sub-contract may fall into a “gray area.” However, Buteau wrote, Common Cause Rhode Island reported that the Ethics Commission is allowed to conduct an investigation if there seems to be a conflict of interest. Common Cause Executive Director John Marion told WPRI-TV, “Certainly there appears to be a conflict here where an elected official is doing business with a city they're elected to represent.”
Acting Department of Public Works Director David Picozzi was contacted but did not call back in time for print.
As of yet, reported Buteau, an ethics complaint against Gallucci has not been filed and the commission does have the authority to commence an investigation without a formal complaint.