Is E.P. Mayor Right Officer to Appoint Next Fiscal Overseer?
East Providence Mayor James Briden wants to know for sure; he has asked the city solicitor to review the state law that creates an AFO and the City Charter.
The mayor wants to make sure he is the right person to appoint East Providence’s new fiscal overseer.
James Briden is asking city solicitor Timothy Chapman to review Rhode Island General Law 45-9-10, which creates the position of Municipal Administration and Finance Officer (AFO) to take over for the Budget Commission when it leaves at the end of March.
The AFO will be appointed by “the elected chief executive officer,” according to the law. Briden wants to make sure he is that officer with the help of Chapman’s legal interpretation of the law and the City Charter.
“Am I that individual that makes the choice?” Briden said. “It’s a relatively new law. Under an abundance of caution, I want a legal interpretation from the solicitor. It seems like the right step to take.”
Briden said he has no problem making the appointment “if I play that role in selecting an AFO.” He wants to make sure it is him.
“You know the old saying about an attorney who is his own attorney,” said Briden, an attorney and former city solicitor.
The law says that the candidates for the position, which is being advertised right now, will first be interviewed by the state’s municipal finance chief, Revenue Director Rosemary Booth Gallogly. The top three candidates will then be forwarded by her to the mayor, according to the law.
The mayor will select the AFO from those candidates. The AFO will report to the mayor.
The AFO will be paid up to $100,000 by East Providence. The AFO will be “responsible for the overall budgetary and financial administration” of East Providence for 5 years.
Exactly where in the hierarchy of the city’s administration the AFO will fit is a bit uncertain right now, although the responsibilities seem similar to the five-person Budget Commission.
“We’ll have to work out the details,” said Briden.
“But that person will help us stick to the five-year budget plan,” he said, even as the position creates another high-paid administrative post in East Providence.