Providence City Council Aims to Prevent Future Budget Crises
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
“We want to understand how we got into this mess,” said Council President Michael Solomon. “What we’re looking to do—to achieve—is to come up with findings, recommendations, and implementations so that this doesn’t happen again.”
The council has directed Internal Auditor Matt Clarkin to work with Gary Sasse—the long-time head of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council—to review the budget approval process and make recommendations on how to improve it.
Asked what responsibility the council bears for fiscal problems the city is facing, Solomon responded: “I think there were a lot of obstacles and you’ll find that as we move along there were a lot of obstacles preventing us from doing our job. So that will come out I’m sure when the final report is done.”
Council turns to Sasse for advice
The council has tapped Sasse to be its fiscal advisor in the process. In addition to three decades at the helm of RIPEC, Sasse is a former Director of the Rhode Island Department of Revenue as well as the Director the Department of Administration—and he helped steer the city through its last major fiscal crisis, during the early years of former Mayor Buddy Cianci.
Solomon has described Sasse as a “walking encyclopedia on fiscal matters.”
“I think Gary is a seasoned person in the area of finances,” Solomon told GoLocalProv. “He’s been in this situation before.”
Sasse has been hired through the Internal Auditor’s office and is receiving a consulting fee of $2,000 a month, according to Solomon.
The final report from Sasse and Clarkin will include recommendations on how to restructure the finance divisions in City Hall, develop an accounting procedure manual, follow quarterly reporting requirements, and increase the council’s involvement with the annual city audit.
Sasse and Clarkin met with the City Council last night to discuss their budget review process. Their final report is due in April.
- Bombshell Report Reveals Extent of City Deficit
- AUDIT: Providence Unfunded Retirement Costs Roughly $2.3 Billion
- Auditor: ‘There’s no question the city will run out of money’
- EXCLUSIVE: Audit Shows Providence Running Out of Money
- Providence Council Demands Special Audit
- Providence Fiscal Crisis: Audit Delayed
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