Governor Raimondo’s Security Detail Tops More than $1.2 Million
Thursday, August 03, 2017
Raimondo is the first Governor in Rhode Island to request 24-hour security coverage -- at more than $40,000 per monthly in security costs. Under previous administrations, governors received 24-hour protection for limited periods of time. Governor Bruce Sundlun received full-time coverage after his administration closed the credit unions in 1991, during the banking crisis. In addition, on a few occasions, Governor Donald Carcieri had round-the-clock coverage due to specific security threats.
However, no governor has had it 24/7 - until now.
A GoLocal investigation found that the taxpayer cost of providing security for Raimondo has totaled $1,269,431, since her taking office --from January 1, 2015, through June 24, 2017.
An Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request by GoLocal secured the security costs, including 29-pages of overtime sheets from the Rhode Island State Police. Raimondo's office refused repeated requests for comment.
SLIDES: SEE THE DETAILS OF OVERTIME AND COSTS BELOW
The costs break down into two categories - the budgeted cost of the Governor’s security detail and the additional cost of the overtime.
Over the past two-and-a-half-years, the Governor’s security units’ salary from January 6, 2015, to the date of the request for the documents, June 24, 2017, included payments to seven different State Troopers.
The top paid trooper is Lt. Paul Sikorsky — his net salary during the period of Raimondo’s tenure is just under $300,000 ($299,494.15) over the two-and-a-half years.
Major Timothy Sanzi of the Rhode Island State Police said that Raimondo faces a “wide variety of potential threats.”
State Police Officer Steven Haynes’ time was valued at $110,352.22 — he also worked on Governor Lincoln Chafee’s detail, but Chafee’s detail was confined to only daytime assignments. The only time Chafee was staffed 24/7 by the Rhode Island State Police was during out-of-state travel or during an emergency period, such as natural disasters or blizzards.
Other members of the State Police:
Michael Doherty’s time was valued at $53,399.30.
Brent Wilks: $57,086.46
Peter Filuminia: $33,545.23
Kimberly Pitts-Wiley: $7,810.38
Erik Mills: $7,810.38
Overtime coverage costly
What is dramatically different about Raimondo’s security coverage is that full-time, 24/7 detail has required a significant increase in the amount of work force deployment. Not only are officers covering during the daytime, but most days two troopers are required to cover 12 hours. The cost per hour for Raimondo’s overnight coverage can be as much as $90 per hour and more than $1,100 in additional daily costs.
More than three dozen individual troopers have been assigned to evening overnight assignments at Raimondo’s home.
Sanzi told GoLocal that times are different, “Today, there are heightened levels of concerns.” He refused to say if Raimondo has received more threats than previous governors.
While Raimondo is Rhode Island’s first female governor, she is not the first governor to have school-aged children while in office. Chafee also had children in school during his tenure as governor.
Raimondo’s costs for security are not entirely unique.
Many governors who turn Presidential candidates have come under fire from home state political forces.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal racked up $2 million in travel and security costs when he ran for President in 2016.
Similarly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was also criticized. “Security costs incurred by state troopers who accompanied Gov. Christie out of New Jersey for 261 days last year could be more than $1 million, according to a WNYC analysis, but the governor's spokesman and the state police are not detailing the total nor who is picking up the tab,” reported WNYC in January of 2016.