Security Breach Scandal: What Next at RIPTA?
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Governor Lincoln Chafee Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Steven G. O’Donnell, and Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) Board Chairman Mayor Scott Avedisian announced Friday they have asked the State Police to look into the possible mishandling of public resources at RIPTA. Thursday night, Governor Chafee asked the Rhode Island State Police to secure RIPTA’s internal records in an effort to protect potential evidence of wrongdoing within that agency.
“Serious allegations of wrongdoing have been made in the course of RIPTA’s top-to-bottom review,” Governor Chafee said. “Mayor Avedisian and I believe that these allegations are serious and that in order to preserve the public trust an investigation by the State Police is warranted.”
Chafee said he and Avedisian have asked Lieutenant Colonel Studley to work with RIPTA to coordinate the investigation and assist with operations, identify process improvements, and generally assist the organization.
“We need to fix these problems as quickly as possible so that we get back to our mission of transporting people,” Avedisian said. “I thank Governor Chafee and Colonel O'Donnell for putting together a team to assist us in putting RIPTA back on the right track.”
Earlier this week, Governor Chafee announced that RIPTA had taken prompt steps in response to the discovery of a security systems breach at its Elmwood Avenue facility. This included the termination of three management personnel, with additional personnel action expected.
Chafee’s announcement was praised by retiring State Senator John Tassino, who said that while it is a specific recent incident that has led to the investigation and appointment of the State Police overseer, RIPTA has long had its problems.
“Perhaps now, finally, we are on the path to making RIPTA the quality mass transit agency it was always intended to be, and to restoring citizen confidence that their transportation needs are the first and foremost aim of the authority,” said Senator Tassoni. “After years of dissatisfaction with and concerns about how the authority was being run, after years of fiscal problems that have repeatedly threatened Rhode Islanders’ abilities to rely on RIPTA, the governor has taken action to get this agency back on an even keel.”
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