Mayor taps former RIPTA CEO Studley as chief of staff

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Mayor Scott Avedisian announced Monday the appointment of Raymond Studley, former Lieutenant Colonel of the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) and former CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), as his new chief of staff. Studley, who will assume the role effective October 1, replaces Chief of Staff and Public Works Director David Picozzi, who retired in July after more than 30 years of service to the City. 

“I am very pleased that Ray has accepted this position,” Avedisian said in atstement. “As the former chairman of the RIPTA board of directors, I have seen firsthand Ray’s leadership abilities and his talent for assessing problems and putting together responsible, common-sense solutions to fix them. Ray has extensive experience dealing with personnel issues, handling crisis situations, and, very important for our community, a proven track record with developing and administering annual budgets that are both fiscally sound and provide essential services and programs.”

 “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Warwick, and look forward to working in collaboration with all City officials to continue the successes the City has had under the leadership of Mayor Avedisian,” Studley said in a release.

Studley served in the RISP from June 1990 through May 2013. As a lieutenant, he was the officer in charge of the Intelligence Unit as well as the officer in charge of the RI Fusion Center. In 2009, in response to management labor issues, the East Providence city manager named Studley interim police chief, overseeing a force of 112 sworn members and 37 civilian employees, until the department transitioned over to a new, permanent chief.

In addition to holding responsibility as the officer in charge of RISP investigations into all officer-involved shootings throughout the state, Studley’s tenure on the force included time as assistant detective commander, where he oversaw all detective bureau investigations and civilian employees. As captain of the uniform division, he managed daily operations of the uniform division, until his promotion to lieutenant colonel of the entire division, serving as chief of field operations, and achieving the level of second in command.

In 2013, then-Governor Lincoln Chafee tapped Studley as CEO of the troubled Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, a position he held until May, when Studley announced he was leaving his post. Among his accomplishments at RIPTA, Studley points to a significant improvement of the agency’s finances – from a $17M deficit when he arrived, to a surplus in FY16, and the ranking of RIPTA as the 7th fastest growing mid-sized transit agency in the country by the American Public Transportation Association in 2014. These gains were attributed in part to a “great number of process improvements from the financial, human resources, inventory control, and safety and security divisions,” Studley said, as well as efforts to improve morale among the employee ranks.

Studley is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. He also completed a one-year course on leadership and management through the Transpro Executive Leadership Program.

Avedisian said Studely would be paid about $70,000.

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