The man who has been praised for daring to take on and then overseeing the construction of Danger Bridge in Oakland Beach, who drives a street grader to plow streets in a blizzard and led the team that built the trail at Rocky Point is now wearing two hats in city government…at least for the time being.
Mayor Scott Avedisian said this week that Department of Public Works Director David Picozzi is also assuming the role of chief of staff. That job is held by Bruce Keiser, but Keiser injured his back while boating and has been unable to report for work for at least two weeks.
Because of his knowledge of city operations and government, Avedisian tapped Picozzi to fill the gap until Keiser returns. The additional responsibility comes with no added pay or indication of how long the job will last, the mayor said.
Picozzi knows the players in and out of government. He’s well versed in the city budget and with the union contract as it applies to municipal employees. Also, because DPW works in tandem with fire and police, especially in emergency situations such as the aftermath of the macroburst storm on Aug. 4, Picozzi has a close working relationship with Col. Stephen McCartney and Chief Edmund Armstrong. DPW also performs much of the maintenance on fire apparatus
Keiser, who has a background in municipal government most recently as Jamestown manager before coming to Warwick as interim tax assessor, assumed the role of chief of staff when William DePasquale, who was filling both that role and planning director, returned to full-time planning director this summer. Prior to that, he served as senior planner and executive assistant to the mayor of Pawtucket. Keiser also served as director of local government services for Rhode Island public expenditure council and as director of administrative services in South Kingstown.
Because he is a relatively recent city employee, Avedisian said Keiser is not being paid during his absence. Nonetheless, Avedisian said, Keiser maintains daily contact with his office.