NEW: Central Falls’ Mayor Unveils Plan to Tackle Corruption
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Following through on a campaign promise, the newly-inaugurated Mayor James Diossa will hold a public hearing tonight at 5 p.m. on his plans for a comprehensive ethics reform package in the city.
"Tonight, let us stand together as one community, as one city, as one people in demanding an open and honest government," Diossa said . "In doing so, we will put new signs at our city's border that say "Open For Business" to business leaders who want to create jobs and grow the economy."
Diossa’s ethics reforms package enters on four principles.
First, the new Mayor wants to create a city ethics code which he says will hold city officials and employees responsible for “high ethical conduct,” will prevent “no-show jobs” and empowers the city solicitor to enforce the code with the new title of city ethics integrity officer.
Second, lobbyists would be required to register with the city clerk.
Third, the ordinance would prohibit no-bid contracts from going to any entity that contributed more than $300 to a political candidate in the city, eliminating so-called “Pay-to-play” deals.
“If this provision had been in effect earlier,” the Mayor’s statement read. “No-bid contracts would not have been permitted to be awarded to Michael Bouthillette who - according to prosecutors, boarded up at least 167 homes between 2007 and 2009 and during the same time period made nearly $3,000 in campaign contributions to the sitting Mayor.”
Lastly, the new ordinance would require city employees and officials to leave the city on honorable terms before they could collect a pension, preventing them from collecting “if they have dishonorably served the city.”
"The price for corruption in our city has been high," Diossa said. "Hardworking residents have had to endure the pain of a difficult bankruptcy process that included higher taxes, reduced public services, and the closing of our community center and public library. Tonight, we join together in saying, "no more" to corruption."
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