LETTERS

Fiscal truth: Tax hikes are on the way

Posted

To the Editor:

Many thanks to Mayor Solomon for coming forth and telling the fiscal truth to a small group of residents who gathered at Warwick Vets last Wednesday evening. The daunting truth of how disastrous the previous long-term administration was to this community is now no secret. This is no surprise to a handful of residents, including myself, who have been beating this drum and putting forth document based fact for many years. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears and we were vilified by Avedisian and his co-conspirators.

For years, Avedisian had full control of the City Council with exception to maybe two or three members. Republican in name only, to this day I defy anyone to give one example of a Republican-like action that was ever taken by Avedisian. Truth be told, Avedisian gave away the store to the unions for the sole purpose of gaining their political support to keep the only job he has ever had. You are now paying for his selfish deeds. One need only look down the employee list to see the grotesque nepotism that has taken place within the hiring of city employees.

Years of theft, waste and abuse were overlooked by his administration. It became routine, as if the waste was required so that he could justify budget increases year after year. Pension plans not funded yet touted unrealistic returns, which turned out to be complete fiction. Healthcare plans giving away free lifetime healthcare for the retired. A wonderful benefit, unfortunately there is not one penny in the account that you the resident now bears the cost of 300 million dollars.  For years, fiscally educated residents Cushman and Durand stood before numerous city council bodies bringing this eventual disaster to their attention, yet they were mocked and ridiculed. Former councilwoman Wilkinson named them the “haters” and the “hobbyist” and allowed unions members to disrupt their speaking on numerous occasions.  Council president Donna Travis, behind on her car and property taxes at the time, was recorded on open mic with Wilkinson planning to stop residents from speaking at the open mic session. Unfortunately, their complete lack of any formal fiscal education contributed to the situation at hand. 

Until recently, the finance committee was strategically appointed to do the bidding of Avedisian. Purchases never questioned, contracts not scrutinized, and expenditures made when clearly they were neither justified nor vetted.  The only words we heard were “move favorable action.” Members of the finance committee for the most part had no business or finance education, and now we wonder why we are in the predicament that we find ourselves. Yet the few residents who continually sounded the warnings are the bad guys. 

But where is Scotty? Hiding behind his PR person Ms. Polichetti. Why hasn’t he come forward and answered questions in public. Secret side deals, unauthorized expenditures with MIS, misrepresented budgets, the list goes on and on, yet he skates free with his RIPTA parachute. Then there was the covered cameras situation in the money room at RIPTA when Avedisian was the chairman of the board? Certainly, one could make the case for questionable oversight in his management capacities. I do find it interesting how every person that was involved in his administration’s questionable dealings are no longer around. All off on other taxpayer funded adventures with not one of them making their own payroll. Astoundingly, the former finance director Ernie Zmyslinski, whose job by city charter definition was to produce monthly reports of all spending of all departments, failed miserably protecting your tax dollars, and is now the Town Manager of West Warwick. God help the people of West Warwick! By the way, West Warwick just appointed convicted felon Jerry Leite to the pension board, in direct violation of its own town charter.

So what now is the next step? As someone who pays close attention to the finances of the city, a few things need to happen immediately.

The City Council needs to release the YKSM reports on the WFD and also the five-year plan report. The reports should be presented formally to the council by YKSM. It needs to be done in a manner where every taxpayer is notified that this important information will be made public. Since the city has a robo call system in place, it should be utilized to alert the residents of meetings, several meetings, to address the issue at hand. I suggest that after these reports are presented by YKSM, there should be at least one meeting in each ward presented by that council member. This will ensure a couple of things. 

Number one, it will ensure that your councilman knows the facts and is intimately familiar with the cities fiscal condition (that is not the case as of recent) and number two, it will give every resident the opportunity to understand the dire fiscal situation in Warwick and how it is going to affect them. In the absence of these transparent decisions to make this information public, the administration and the council’s managerial skills will continue to be questioned and you will continue to pay the inflating bill.

I strongly urge every resident to contact their council member and demand full disclosure. I have said this before and I will say it again, rest assured that you will be getting the maximum tax increase this year and most likely the administration will seek relief from the General Assembly to institute a supplemental tax as well. Get your check books ready, its coming. Start making the calls.

Rob Cote

Warwick

Comments

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richard corrente

I agree with much of what Cote is reporting in the above letter.

One rhetorical question:

What condition would Warwick be in, if Avedisian was still Mayor?

One unanswerable question:

What did anyone do to stop Avedisian?

One legal question:

Should Avedisian and some of his inner circle be criminally prosecuted?

Happy St. Patricks everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Tuesday, March 5
Thecaptain

Answers to your questions:

Q. What condition would Warwick be in, if Avedisian was still Mayor?

A. The same, the damage has been done and will not be undone soon.

Q. What did anyone do to stop Avedisian?

A. People like Rob Cote, Bob Cushman, Roger Durand, spent lots of money on public records access, spent enormous amounts of time doing analysis, brought the findings to the council for several years, got the media involved, and eventually brought theses issues to the level where Avedisian had no other choice but to run and hide.

Q. Should Avedisian and some of his inner circle be criminally prosecuted?

A. Yes. Under the following laws:

§ 11-1-6 Conspiracy. – Except as otherwise provided by law, every person who shall conspire with another to commit an offense punishable under the laws of this state shall be subject to the same fine and imprisonment as pertain to the offense which the person shall have conspired to commit, provided that imprisonment for the conspiracy shall not exceed ten (10) years.

§ 11-41-4. Obtaining property by false pretenses or personation.

Every person who shall obtain from another designedly, by any false pretense or pretenses, any money, goods, wares, or other property, with intent to cheat or defraud, and every person who shall personate another or who shall falsely represent himself or herself to be the agent or servant of another and shall receive any money or other property intended to be delivered to the person so personated, or to the alleged principal or master of that agent or servant, shall be deemed guilty of larceny.

TITLE 18 Fraud by wire, radio, or television

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

§ 38-1-10 Disposal of records.

No public official may mutilate, destroy, sell, loan, or otherwise dispose of any public record without the consent of the public records administration program of the secretary of state.

§ 38-1-4 Keeping of records in vaults provided – Penalty.

When not in use, the records and documents shall be kept in the fireproof rooms, vaults, or safes provided for them. Whoever unlawfully keeps in his or her possession any public record, or unlawfully removes the record from the room in which it is usually kept, or alters, defaces, mutilates, or destroys any public record, or violates any provision of this section, shall, for each offense, be punished by a fine of not less than twenty dollars ($20.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).

Just for starters, and there is more, plenty more.

Tuesday, March 5
davebarry

They don't need to raise taxes. When was the last time a study was done of the school, police and fire departments staffing? We can cut back on personnel, our most expensive line item. We don't need 160 police and definately don't need over 200 firemen. Not in a city that has lost population and is down to about 80,000 residents. The crime rate is as low as its ever been. We are closing schools. Fires are rare. Don't raise taxes mayor, cut, cut , cut.

Tuesday, March 12
Observant1

Be careful last time a study was done it came back that more firefighters were needed ,as Warwick which runs engines with 3 personnel does not meet NFPA standards for manpower ( 4 personnel per Engine Company) Also closing engine companys would not be advisable as ISO ratings are based on response times, and insurance premiums based on ISO ratings.

Wednesday, March 13