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Gary Sasse: Focusing on Effective State Leadership

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

 

The 2014 election can be a watershed event for the state, believes Gary Sasse.

The Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University, The Providence Journal and Rhode Island PBS recently announced a bold new initiative—Job One: Leadership. This joint program is designed to focus on the number one issue facing Ocean State voters, that being the election of visionary and effective leaders. Job One: Leadership’s goal is to help voters as they consider which candidates have the greatest potential to effectively lead Rhode Island for the next four years.

A unique opportunity

Rhode Island is at an economic crossroads and as President Abraham Lincoln observed: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” However, our major obstacles are not financial and economic, though those are critical matters, but rather the lack of what the people believe is state leadership that has the political will to connect the dots.

The 2014 election can be a watershed event for the state. Its outcome may go a long way to determine how we address the challenges of chronically high unemployment, transformational demographic changes, underperforming schools with a resultant jobs-skills mismatch, an aging infrastructure, a decade of fiscal stress and deep-rooted self doubts.

As Jim Collins observed in his classic work Good to Great, “Leadership begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications.” Effective elected officials are in a unique position to mobilize the skills and energy of all Rhode Islanders to address the complex and difficult issues facing the state. Their leadership is essential for motivating diverse interests to work together for the common good. Effective leaders are essential to shape the future and make things happen.

President Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he observed the following: “The leader must understand that he leads us, that he guides us, by convincing us so that we will follow him or follow his direction.“

A lack of confidence

A recent public opinion poll conducted by Fleming Associates as part of the Job One: Leadership initiative found that Rhode Islanders lacked confidence in the effectiveness of state leaders. Just two percent questioned in the Fleming poll rated their performance as excellent and 14 percent graded it as good. Conversely, four out of five persons polled rated the effectiveness of state leaders as either fair or poor. The greatest number of those polled, 43 percent said their governing effectiveness was poor.

The poll also asked respondents to evaluate the performance of elected state officials in the areas of problem solving, communications, integrity, fiscal management responsiveness, accessibility, leading people and conflict management. The highest excellent/good rating for any activity was 27 percent. The fair/poor ratings went as high as 85 percent.

According to the Fleming poll the picture was not as negative for locally elected officials. Forty-five percent of those polled said that locally elected official were effective. This result differs dramatically from opinion about the effectiveness of state leaders. A future column will delve deeper into attitudes toward city, town and school elected officials.

The Job One: Leadership-sponsored poll also asked voters what they considered most important in selecting state leaders. Thirty–seven percent said it was integrity, followed by fiscal management, 25 percent, and problem solving 18 percent. In the words of President Eisenhower: “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity.”

Moving forward

Throughout the election cycle Job One: Leadership will continue to keep the focus on the characteristics and abilities of effective potential leaders.

Candidates for Governor will be asked to answer specific questions on the topic of leadership and those answers will be made available for voter consideration in both text and video formats.

A “Voters Guide for Effective Leadership “ will be provided voters to help them consider the leadership skills of candidates on the central leadership issues of problem solving, fiscal management, communication, responsiveness, conflict management, accessibility and integrity.

Job One: Leadership will convene a public discussion on what it means to be an effective leader.

Stay tuned.

 

Gary Sasse is Founding Director of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University. He is the former Executive Director Rhode Island Public Expenditure and Director of the Departments of Administration and Revenue.

 

Related Slideshow: PAC Spending in the 2014 Rhode Island Governor’s Race

With Election Day now just months away, GoLocal took a look at PAC spending in the Rhode Island gubernatorial campaigns.

Who is giving to who -- and how much?  And what's worth more, the money or the grassroots support?

Below is look at recorded PAC giving by the candidates in their campaign finance reports for the 2013 calendar year, by quarter.  Candidate Todd Giroux has an affadavit for an annual filing exemption.

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Gina Raimondo - Q1 2013

PAC money received: $7,000

AON Corporation:  $2,500*
Attorneys Partridge, Snow, and Hahn: $1000
Brokers for Better Health Care: $250
Engage RI PAC: $1000
Hinckley Allen and Snyder: $1000
Hinckley Allen and Snyder Rhode Island PAC: $1000
RI Medical PAC: $250
 
Cash balance ending March 31, 2013: $1,723,203.71
 
Excessive donation made in error, said would "be reflected" in 2nd quarter report
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Gina Raimondo - Q2 2013

PAC money received: $4,400 

Amica RI PAC: $250
Cox PAC: $1000
Federal Express RI State PAC: $250
IBEW Local 99: $500
Iron Workers Local 37: $250
Metlife Insurance PAC D:  $200
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local: $500
RI Bricklayers PAC: $500
RI Carpenters PAC: $200
RI Laborers PAC: $500
Sheet Metal Workers: $250
 
Cash balance ending June 30, 2013: $2,063,548.54
Prev Next

Gina Raimondo - Q3 2013

PAC money received $1,750 

Citzens Bank PACOM: $500
Delta Dental of RI PAC: $500
DRIVE PAC: $500
International Union of Painters: $250
 
Cash balance ending September 30, 2013: $2,305,657.89
 
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Gina Raimondo - Q4 2013

PAC money received: $6,950

Attorneys Partridge, Snow, and Hahn: $750 
Building Industry PAC: $500
Capitol Communications Group LLC, PAC: $500
Emily's List RI: $1000
IBEW Local 99: $250
Plumbers and Pipefitters: $500
RI Laborers' PAC: $1000
RI Medical PAC: $750
RI Public Employees Education PAC: $1000
United Food and Commercial Workers: $500
Utility Contractors' Association: $200
 
Cash balance ending December 31, 2013: $2,508,647.86
Prev Next

Angel Taveras - Q1 2013

PAC money received: $3,600

Capitol Communications Group, $500
Iron Workers Local 37, $100
IOUE (Intl. Union of Operating Engineers) Local 57: $1000
Moses and Afonso PAC: $1000
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 51 PAC: $500
RI Carpenters PAC: $250
RI NERCC (NE Regional Council of Carpenters PAC) PAC: $250
 
Cash balance ending March 31, 2013: $560,779.72
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Angel Taveras - Q2 2013

PAC money received: $6,550

Attorneys Partridge Snow and Hahn: $250
Attorneys Partridge Snow and Hahn: $750
Building Industry PAC: $500
Chartercare Employee PAC: $250
COX PAC: $250
COX PAC: $750
Hinckley, Allen, Snyder PAC: $1000
Hinckley, Allen, Snyder Rhode Island PAC: $1000
IBEW Local 99: $100
Local 791 UCFW PAC: $500
Providence Firefighters Local 799: $200
RI Troopers Association: $1000
 
Cash balance ending June 30, 2013: $692,590.12
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Angel Taveras - Q3 2013

PAC money received: $1,300

Connecticut Healthcare District 1199: $500
Providence Firefighters Local 799: $800

Cash balance as of September 30, 2013: $759,150.22
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Angel Taveras - Q4 2013

PAC money received:  $6,100

American Association of University Professionals: $1000
Darrow Everett PAC: $500
Enterprise Holdings PAC of RI: $500
Enterprise Holdings PAC of RI: $500
Middletown Firefighters COPE: $100
RI Laborers Public Employees PAC: $1000
RI Medical PAC: $1000
RI State Association of Firefighters: $1000
United Food and Commercial Workers: $500
 
Cash balance as of December 31, 2013: $1,025,981.62
Prev Next

Allan Fung -- Q1 2013

PAC money received: $1,550*

Amica PAC: $250
Cox PAC: $200
IBEW Local 99: $250
International Brotherhood of Police: $350
RI Troopers Association: $500
 
Cash balance as of March 31, 2013: $160,520.12
 
* A later filing amended the PAC amount to $1,650 and cash balance to $159,520.12.
Prev Next

Allan Fung - Q2 2013

PAC money received: $1,600 

Amica PAC: $250
International Brotherhood of Police: $650
MetLife PAC D:  $200
Opticians PAC: $500
 
Cash balance as of June 30, 2013: $256,498.77
Prev Next

Allan Fung -- Q3 2013

PAC money received: $1,100

CIRI PAC: $100
Darrow Everett: $500
RI Troopers Association: $500
 
Cash balance as of September 30, 2013: $336,553.93
Prev Next

Allan Fung -- Q4 2013

PAC money received: $3,800

Amica / RI PAC: $500
Capitol Communications Group $500
Hinckley, Allen, Snyder: $500
MetLife PAC D: $800
Opticians PAC: $500
RI Medical PAC: $1000
 
Cash balance as of December 31, 2013:  $384,925.44
Prev Next

Ken Block

Quarter 1:  No PAC $; cash balance   $20,000.07
Quarter 2:  No PAC $; cash balance   $73,987.53
Quarter 3:  No PAC $; cash balance $547,685.26
Quarter 4:  No PAC $; cash balance $634,126.60
Prev Next

Clay Pell

Quarter 4 (first report filed): No PAC $, cash balance $1,105,152.43 

 
 

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