Providence Council Demands Special Audit
Saturday, November 13, 2010
“I think this will be beneficial to the new mayor and the seven incoming council members that they at least get a snapshot of the city’s finances,” Solomon, D-Ward 5, told GoLocalProv.
The call for an independent audit comes after the Internal Auditor James Lombardi issued a report saying the city was falling behind on its pension payments and could run out of cash sometime next year. Solomon said an outside auditor would have more resources to examine city finances and provide an independent perspective on the situation.
New councilman applauds special audit
Incoming councilman Bryan Principe, D-Ward 13, applauded the move. “I think it’s great. I would love to get the most up-to-date information possible,” Principe told GoLocalProv. “How can we make decisions if we don’t know what we’re basing the decisions on?”
The city’s independent auditor, Braver PC, is already in the process of doing an audit for fiscal year 2010, which runs from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Solomon said the council—through Finance Chairman John Igliozzi—has requested an additional audit of the first six months of fiscal year 2011—July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010. Solomon, who was first elected in 2006, said it was the first time he recalled such a special, mid-year audit being requested.
Solomon said the extra audit would encompass all aspects of city finances—from pension payments to cash flow to disbursements. “I’m not sure what we’re expecting right now,” Solomon said. “I think it’s too premature to speculate.”
‘We keep postponing the inevitable’
Principe said he is worried the new council and mayor will be facing a serious deficit come next January. “It’s a huge challenge with the city finances that we’re going to have to deal with,” he said. “Not only is the city in dire financial straits but the state is and that kind of exacerbates things.”
He added: “We keep postponing the inevitable. We are not accepting the reality of the gravity of the situation.”
Karen Watts, a spokeswoman for Mayor David Cicilline, declined to comment, saying his office was unaware that the special audit had even been requested.
Cicilline’s administration has caught some flack over the Internal Auditor’s report, but Principe said the city’s fiscal problems pre-dated his administration. He said it is time to move on. “It’s easy to point fingers, especially at the incumbent, but again, it’s a legacy issue and it took many years to get into this situation and there are a lot of people to blame,” Principe said. “I’m trying to look forward.”
- Auditor: ‘There’s no question the city will run out of money’
- Taveras to Unions: City in Dire Financial Straits
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