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PowerPlayer: Gary Sasse

Monday, July 25, 2011

 

If you’ve spent any time paying attention to Rhode Island politics over the last couple of decades, you know GoLocalProv’s latest PowerPlayer. Gary Sasse has been an adviser to leadership on both sides of the aisle over the past 30 years.

Most recently, Sasse helped a relatively inexperienced Providence City Council navigate through a fiscal storm by providing sound, practical advice. His input is likely to have an impact on the capital city for years to come.

Sasse was kind enough to chat with us about his career and give us his outlook on where the city and the state stands today.

1) You have been involved in various parts of government throughout your career. Tell us about your favorite experience.

Throughout my career I’ve been fortunate to have numerous opportunities to work on numerous public policy issues. Some of the more memorable were:

• Chairing the Providence Review Commission and working with the City to avoid municipal bankruptcy in the early 1980s.
• Serving as a fiscal advisor to the late Governor Bruce Sundlun during the height of the credit union crisis.
• Working with the General Assembly to pass legislation capping property taxes.
• Chairing Governor Carcieri’s Tax Policy Workgroup and reforming Rhode Island’s income tax.

2) You're one of the most practical people in Rhode Island politics. Where do we stand as a state today? Is the outlook positive or negative?

Rhode Island is at a turning point and with effective leadership we could move in a positive direction. However, the outlook today is uncertain because we lack a clear vision for economic growth.

3) Take us through a day in your life.

No two days in my life are the same, but I remain actively involved in several public service ventures. Currently, I divide my time between the directing the Bryant Institute for Public Leadership, teaching at Northeastern University and Rhode Island College, and consulting with various governmental bodies and community organizations.

4) You recently helped Providence navigate through its fiscal crisis. What can the city do to avoid these financial problems in the future?

• Implement the Corrective Action plan submitted by Internal Auditor Matt Clarkin and myself to assure complete transparency and accountability for all financial activities in the City.
• Reform the tax structure in order to make it fairer, more balanced and competitive with neighboring cities.
• Continue to cut the costs of government in order to sustain critical municipal services.
• Promote an educational agenda based on performance and accountability for student achievement.

5) Tell us something nobody knows about.

I’m a country music fan.

Quick Hitters

Role Model: Harry Truman is my role model, my father is my hero.
Best Restaurant: Persimmon in Bristol, RI
Best Beach: East Beach, Watch Hill
Favorite Book You've Read In The Last Year: Scorpions by Noah Feldman
Advice For The Next Gary Sasse: Stick to the fundamentals, be guided by the facts and call it as you see it.

 

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