Avedisian names Keiser interim finance director
Mayor Scott Avedisian announced Wednesday the appointment of Bruce Keiser, director of administration, to lead the finance department on an interim basis to replace longtime Finance Director Ernest Zmyslinski. Zmyslinski officially retired this week to assume the job of West Warwick Town Manager.
“Ernie has served the citizens of Warwick extremely well during his 18-year tenure with the City,” Avedisian said. “He has been a valued member of my administration, and it is in great part due to his careful stewardship of the city’s finances that we have posted budget surpluses year after year, and meet our pension obligations while continuing to provide good municipal services.
“I have been consistently and deeply impressed with the scope of Ernie’s knowledge, dedication and tireless efforts to keep city departments within – or under – budget,” Avedisian continued. “While he relies on traditional finance practices to maintain the city’s fiscal health, he is also constantly researching other communities’ innovations in cost-saving measures to better serve our taxpayers. We will certainly miss Ernie, and thank him for his hard work over the years. I wish him well as he retires from the City.”
Zmyslinski was named finance director in 1999 by then-Mayor Lincoln Chafee, and Avedisian asked him to remain in the post upon his election as mayor in 2000. During Zmyslinski’s tenure, the Finance and Treasury divisions, over which he had direct supervision, have earned several Certificates of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada. He also received the Robert M. Goodrich Distinguished Public Service Award from the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.
Zmyslinski said he is grateful for the opportunity to serve as the City’s Finance Director and work as part of an outstanding management team.
Avedisian said Keiser would hold the dual roles of director of administration and finance director until a permanent replacement is named.
Keiser has nearly 40 years of government management experience, with demonstrated expertise in oversight of municipal operations, budgeting, personnel, community planning, and intergovernmental relations. He was Jamestown’s town administrator for seven years prior to retiring in August 2013.
Previously, he was the senior planner and executive assistant to the mayor of Pawtucket. He has also served as director of local government services for the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and as director of administrative services in South Kingstown. Prior to his appointment as director of administration, Keiser spent several months as the interim tax assessor.
Avedisian said Keiser, who is now being paid about $80,000, would have his pay boosted to $116,000. He said with staff changes and retirements, the overall budget would see a reduction.