Solomon looking, in no rush to pick solicitor

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The city has been without a solicitor since last December when Peter Ruggiero left the post.

That hasn’t been a problem, says Mayor Joseph Solomon.

In an interview last week, Solomon pointed out that he passed the Rhode Island Bar in 1982, and having practiced for so many years he knows the state’s legal community. He said that gives him the ability to pick who he feels is best qualified to represent the city depending on the matter.

“We retain attorneys based on the issues before us,” he said.

Solomon said he reaches “an agreed upon price” with the attorneys and that the practice of selecting legal representation depending on the need has “cost substantially less than those of the past.”

Asked what those saving amount to and what the city is paying, Solomon said, “I don’t want to bid against myself.”

“I take pride in bringing the most effectiveness as possible,” he said. “The frugal approach.” He didn’t provide an amount of savings.

That doesn’t mean the city will be without a solicitor. Solomon said he’s in no rush to fill the post, but plans to do so.

In an interview Wednesday, Solomon elaborated. He said his time could be better spent.

“However, I could utilize that time in other ways as mayor of the city. So I am pursuing the retaining of a solicitor. I have no one in mind at this time. I haven’t interviewed.”

He dismissed discussion of salary, saying that would be covered under “professional services” in the budget. The council approved a $700,000 budget for professional services, a 75 percent increase from the current $400,000 budget.

“Everyone that I have brought onto this administration, whether it be a director’s position or a fire chief or police chief, nobody ever, ever brought up the money. Which tells me they have the passion in their heart to do the job and they have the qualifications, that’s what I’m looking at. As long as they possess that and they share the ideals and my views – you’re not going to agree with me on everything. I don’t think anyone agrees with everyone on everything. But if we’re all headed in the same direction, it makes like a little more productive for the city and the taxpayers,” he said.

Also included in the budget is $50,000 for an executive assistant to the mayor, a new position.

Solomon sees the assistant as lightening the workload of his staff.

He didn’t spell out specifics of the job or say whether he has someone in mind for the post.

“We’re on overdrive,” Solomon said of himself and his staff. While he said the staff is doing a good job, they run the risk of burnout. The added position, he said, would lessen the stress and enable improved performance.

Asked if he planned to post the position, Solomon said he would be interviewing for the job.

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Hillsgrove Hal

So, this is Mayor Solomon's "frugal approach" -- jack up the legal services budget by $300,000 and hire his own "executive assistant" for $50,000.

Meanwhile, the school department got zero new city money (the $500,000 in "new" funding is from the state, the $6 million in building repairs is from bonds approved by voters, and the $1.7 million for paying old bonds is the city's responsibility, anyway) and is threatening to cut sports.

This is not the responsible leadership he promised us during the campaign last year.

Tuesday, June 11
wwkvoter

After what Avedisian got us into, it may be now necessary to "destroy the village in order to save it"...

Tuesday, June 11
Hillsgrove Hal

wwkvoter, Solomon and the council have been in control of the city just as long as Avedisian was -- emphasis on "was."

Any failure lies at their feet as much as his -- even more, in fact, since they're in charge now.

And nearly doubling the legal budget and creating a new $50,000 position in the mayor's office isn't "saving" in my book.

Why didn't Avedisian need an "executive assistant" to "lessen stress" on his staff?

I have a theory: He hired competent people who could actually run the city instead of covering up for an in-over-his-head mayor.

Tuesday, June 11
Scotty ruined Warwick

Avedisian laid the foundation for all that is wrong in the city by "paying off" City Council members with jobs for family and friend, positions on boards and special favors no other non-political citizen could receive. His budgets and union friendly contracts were rubber stamped through the legislative process by a now late Council President and an incompetent President Travis.

Hired competent people? That's a joke. Most of these people couldn't get a job in private industry. Take for example,

former Councilman Stevie Colantuono who served as his chief accomplice moving Scotty's legislation through the process and for his services he took home free lifetime healthcare and low and behold Scotty hired them as legal council at RIPTA for a sweet 6 figure salary. It paid to play in the Scotty Avedisian administration.

There was no opposition party in Warwick for 20 years, it was Scotty's way with the support of the union thugs in the WFD and DPW. Scotty's systematic plan destroyed the education system using schools as a scapegoat and taking every last dollar in property taxes for out of control city spending on lavish unsustainable retirement benefits for the unions lackeys who kept him in power.

Love how the conflicted Scotty supporters want to deflect his responsibility in all of this always advocated for incremental tax increases but never touching on the sustainability of these retirement giveaways.

This was the Scotty play book and it appears that the current mayor and City Council have studied it well.

Wednesday, June 12
Fed up

As one example of the Solomon give away project. He appointed his 1st cousins daughter to the board of public safety. He then appoints her husband as the new director of Parks and Recreation for $100,000 (a $15,000) increase from the last guy that held the position. And what are Mr. Scott's credentials? Lets take a peak.

Director of Parks and Recreation

Company City of Warwick

Dates Employed Dec 2018 – Present

Employment Duration 7 mos

Providence Public Schools

Title Assistant Principal

Dates Employed Jul 2016 – Nov 2018

Employment Duration 2 yrs 5 mos

Location Providence, Rhode Island - Elementary Zone

Managed school operations including: school safety, discipline, academics, employee evaluation, parent engagement, and compliance.

Title Acting Assistant Principal

Dates Employed Aug 2015 – Jun 2016

Employment Duration 11 mos

Location Providence, Rhode Island - Gilbert Stuart Middle School

Managed daily operations, including entrance, passing time, lunch and dismissal in a large urban middle school with over 900 students and 70 faculty members.

Worked with leadership team to implement organizational changes including: creating a... See more

Title ELA Teacher Leader

Dates Employed Jul 2014 – Aug 2015

Employment Duration 1 yr 2 mos

Location Providence, Rhode Island - Providence Career & Technical Academy

Helped administration implement a systems level approach to teaching, learning and assessment.

It would appear by looking t Mr. Scott's resume that he was unable to hold a position for any length of time. Now that Cousin Joe is calling the shots, he gets a nice cushy six figure job with all the perks. So whats the difference now in Warwick? Special interests are still here, no transparency, increasing budgets, yet Joe states publicly that he cut every department by 5%. What a joke.

Wednesday, June 12
Hillsgrove Hal

Scotty ruined Warwick, so you admit that the city council was responsible for overseeing the city but never actually acted that way.

I have said that Solomon and the city council are as responsible for the current situation as Avedisian. That means I blame him too, but -- and it seems this has to be repeated over and over again -- he is gone, while Solomon and the council people who had a hand in creating this mess are still here.

Interesting that you don't address the new $50,000 position in the mayor's office or the $300,000 increase in the legal budget -- do you have an opinion on that, or should it be ignored because you don't like Avedisian?

The longer people keep looking back, the less they're focused on the present.

That's what Solomon and the city council seem to be counting on.

Wednesday, June 12
wwkvoter

There is no way "Scotty" A should skate on criticism until the damage is behind us (in 40 or 50 years), (or NEVER if the new mayor and council keep playing the same game as during Avedisian).

Wednesday, June 12
Hillsgrove Hal

wwkvoter, no one is saying Avedisian "should skate on criticism," but it's good to see that you admit he's not the only person who is to blame.

He's also not the answer to any of these questions:

Who passed Solomon's budget that nearly doubles the legal account (while leaving the solicitor position unfilled, as if the city doesn't need regular legal representation on things like the still-unfinished fire contract) and adds a new position to the mayor's office?

Who approved the budget in 2017 without a tax increase while spending went up by $6.5 million?

Who approved the budget in 2018 with the maximum allowed tax increase?

Who approved the budget in 2019 without giving any more city money to the schools while trying to use pension contributions to balance the school budget?

Who approved all those budgets that gave salary and benefits increases over the years prior to that?

Who admitted that he didn't read past contracts or make sure they followed city ordinances?

Who announced the results of arbitration with the fire contract, only to have the union reject the results?

The problems with the city budget do go back years, but Solomon is as much to blame for them as anyone else -- and he should be held to account for the decisions he's made recently that make them worse.

Wednesday, June 12
can't believe it

Hillsgrove Hal

Stop being an apologist for your boy, Scottie.

To say one year out of 18 yrs not raising taxes made the difference in Warwick's fiscal demise is ridiculous. Scottie spent with abandon lavishing his largess on his union buddies is well documented.

Scottie is single-handedly responsible for Warwick's ride to bankruptcy.

Wednesday, June 12
Hillsgrove Hal

can't believe it, so Solomon wasn't on the council -- you know, the people who approved those budgets and contracts -- for 20 years?

Funny definition of "single-handed" that you have there.

Oh, and "union buddies?" Who do you think got Democrat Solomon elected all those times?

And that no tax increase budget passed by Solomon and the council?

It cost $7.1 million in revenue and left a $4 million deficit. So, yes, it made a huge difference.

Call me all the names you want, Solomon and the council have been in total control of the city budget for 3 years and made the situation much worse.

(Maybe you should also look up the definition of "apologist" before repeating the mayor's talking points again.)

Wednesday, June 12
can't believe it

Hillsgrove Hal

You can keep spinning your fallacies but those who have followed council proceedings over the yrs know Scottie owned the majority of the council. Glad to see you repeat a Scottie talking point...the Democrats controlled the council.

Donna's daughter was given a job at the library, Vella jumped to his call, Gallucci did what ever Scottie told him to do. I could mention others but it would take too much time.

The budget exploded under Scottie but you fail to mention that. Pensions benefits were increased that drove up costs by the millions every yr. Should I mention the goodies Scottie gave the WFD that costs millions every yr?

I don't have to look up the word "stooge", Hillsgrove Hal you do a great service for your boy, Scottie.

Wednesday, June 12
Hillsgrove Hal

can't believe it, please explain what benefit it serves to continually complain about the last mayor and blame him for everything -- when some of the SAME PEOPLE who have been on the council and allowed the current situation to occur are still in office and making those problems worse.

I've said this before, but you've ignored it, so I'll repeat it: They are at least as responsible for the current situation as Avedisian.

See how that doesn't resolve Avedisian of responsibility? See how that implies that he and the council share the blame for this? And see how this puts the burden on Solomon and the council to fix those problems that they had a hand in creating?

Obviously you don't, and instead you support Solomon and the council distracting people from the financial issues facing the city right now, under their leadership.

But I understand why you think that way. It's much easier to blame one person and make up stories about how he "owned the majority of the council" instead of actually holding the current office holders to account for their own decisions and failures.

Thursday, June 13
wwkvoter

Lets not forget that the MOST culpable in this Warwick Fiscal Disaster are the voters themselves who were too lazy and shortsighted to even consider the warnings until too late.

Avedisian gets special blame because as mayor, he was at the bully pulpit and could have sounded alarms to protect the financial future of warwick, and instead, did exactly the opposite.

But it was up to the voters to see that and stop it. Had the chance every two years.

Friday, June 14
Cat

Give Solomon some time. He has to wait for a family member or friend to be available to fill the position.

Tuesday, June 18
Hillsgrove Hal

I'm afraid you're right, Cat.

Besides, it's not like the city has an urgent need for a solicitor to advise the mayor on things like, I don't know, a plan to withdraw union pension contributions, a DPW budget that has to be set up a certain way because of a city ordinance, or a tentative contract offer to the firefighters union. Solomon says he can handle it -- nothing to worry about!

(That was sarcasm for anyone who didn't get it.)

People elected Solomon because they trusted him -- with every one of these blunders, he has a longer way to go to actually earn that trust.

Wednesday, June 19
Cat

Hillsgrove Hal,

As you and many others have stated repeatedly, we did't really have a choice but to vote for Solomon. Even with what we know now, I can't imagine Corrente being able to navigate the rough waters any better. Obviously, we don't like how he is handling the city but I think it is still better than watching Richard flounder, barely keeping his head above water. If a guy who has been part of the city council for 20 years does such a terrible job, can you imagine a complete political no vice?

Hopefully, people are gearing up for a run at the Mayor's office in 2020. It is just around the corner!

Wednesday, June 19
Hillsgrove Hal

Cat, excellent points all around.

I shudder to think what someone else with no experience in government would be doing in this situation.

Solomon really should know better because he's been there.

I do hope that we get some decent candidates for the election next year, instead of having to pick someone who's been on the council carousel for two decades but doesn't sound like he knows what's happening with the city.

Thursday, June 20