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Police Monitor Protests at Budget Commission Meeting

Concerned citizens spoke with the budget commission in city hall's council chambers for about an hour.

A group of parents, teachers and students protested proposed cuts to the on Thursday afternoon outside .

According to East Providence Police Chief Joe Tavares, officers kept watch on the situation after the station was alerted that a group may congregate. 

"There aren't hardcore protestors. They're good people that want to be heard," said the chief, noting its usual for officers to monitor meetings where contentious issues are discussed. "We take the precaution... We don't want anybody arrested." 

Budget commission members moved the meeting from a third floor room to the council chambers due to capacity issues. 

According to Mayor Bruce Rogers, the budget commission chairman, members finished up business within a half hour and then moved downstairs to hear concerns. It was a fairly placid meeting; only a handful of residents shouted toward the end of the session.

Michael O'Keefe, chairman of the budget commission, said no decisions were made at the meeting - it's not an absolute that middle school sports will be cut if money can be found. Concerned citizens spoke with the budget commission for about an hour.

"It was educational," he said during a telephone interview. "Many people don't know that we know middle school sports are important to people. They wanted [the budget commission] to see that there is a face to those numbers,"

He said budget commission are aware of the human elements tied to each budget cut as they have meetings with department heads. However, there is a lot of work to do. 

On top of the reoccuring deficit, a building study estimated that East Providence needed an additional $20 million to fix city infrastructure. 

"We said if we get through this process and there's $106,000 left over, and that's the highest priority, we'll keep middle school sports," he said. "But there's a lot of work to do."

According to the budget commission's work plan, members are expected to continue to remain in the city until the early summer. But that timeline is an estimate, said O'Keefe. 

Rumford Resident February 25, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Still waiting for Charlie Tsonos to let us all know how he intends on fixing the problem! Charlie, its ok, you can let us all in on your secret plan to solve the crisis. If you don't, can you stop showing up and blaming the Budget Commission. They are just trying to solve the problem that your crew had a full year to do on your own based upon the platform you ran on (subsidized by the working families of RI). Lets not blame the budget commission for this cities years of overspending. They are the solution, not the problem
Rumford Resident February 25, 2012 at 02:08 AM
But then again, it is school vacation week..... Val Lawson may not be around to pull the strings... We may need to wait until next week for the super secret plan that Charlie referenced in the PROJO piece a week ago.......
davis bacon February 25, 2012 at 12:33 PM
the parents anger is really misdirected. The schools have consistently overspent their budgets. It may be the unions the drove up the costs but previous school committees/superintendents allowed it to happen. The group that was trying to control costs was voted out and now the overspending is galloping back. The school committe(s) are robbing our children of an education through their mismangement. The community shoould be outraged and demand accountabilty not just more spending.
Sharon Rivers February 25, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Bring on the Reciever. Isn't the asbestos testing supposed to be done this week or is there no money to do it.
JR February 25, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Davis "The group that was trying to control costs was voted out and now the overspending is galloping back"??? The group that you say "controlled" costs took $3.5 million per year from teachers pay and still INCREASED the deficit to over $7 million!!! While they "controlled" our teacher down to being the LOWEST PAID in Rhode Island, they gave us the second highest paid superintendent! They passed out administrative raises like candy on Halloween! AND That last committee paid NOTHING toward reducing the deficit in 2 years, only increased it!!! Don't know where you see "Overspending galloping back"??? Please enlighten us!
JR February 25, 2012 at 01:48 PM
BRING ON TH RECEIVER!!!! My property value has already gone down by 25% NOT MY TAXES THOUGH! The reciever will bring my property down anothe 25%!!!!! NOT MY TAXES THOUGH!!!!!
r February 25, 2012 at 02:44 PM
They did it under the guise of its "for the children" apparently it was not for the children . Children got what was leftover after their pockets were full. 106K middle school sports 50% was for the coaches. Much like the Council person from ward 1 . OMG Katie was not going to take anything ,apparently she too was taking everything that was offered after proclaiming far and wide , I will not. Claimed we had choices to get this city under control , first order of business , elect Rogers mayor, day one , bad choice.
1 Truth Seeker February 25, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Why is it that parents are upset that the sports programs are being taken away but not worried that their children have no books and are in unsafe buildings? Just a thought......
Rags 1 February 25, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Don't cut me, cut the program behind the tree. People have to gauge what amount of taxes they want to pay and for what. Full service city, full taxes. Public school education is getting too complex and expensive to be funded at the local level, especially in a state as small as Little Rhody. 30 different jurisdictions, local policians wanting to maove up, budgets out of control, and different goals and objectives--receipt for financial disaster. Get real.
Clean Up February 25, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Yes the Unions have killed this city. When the contract ends every should be fired and then have to reapply for there jobs under new terms of employment. If there not happy about it they can go get a another job.
Clean Up February 25, 2012 at 07:17 PM
More Taxes. Secrets out.):
Clean Up February 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Right to work State here we come.
Paul February 25, 2012 at 08:53 PM
If Middle School parents expect the support of the taxpayers in this fight, they cannot align themselves with the coach and teacher who stood before the commission and told Mr. O'Keefe that "if he was “good” at his job, he would be able to find $106,000". How refreshing and impactful would it have been if that coach and teacher had instead taken the opportunity at the microphone to say: "I have devoted my professional career to the betterment of children's lives. Understanding the financial situation that the people who pay may salary and benefits are facing, I will volunteer my coaching time to help defray the cost of middle school sports". Dare to dream.
r February 25, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Wasn't Charlie going to cut taxes , with the big savings in the school budget. Wish we had that on the YOUTUBE. Sorry Charlie ,wasn't good enough for Starkist not good enough for East Providence either.
Arthur Dolloff February 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Great point JR, When the former council finally hit the stride to put us on the right track to financial security they hit a nerve,' the nerve of them the union said' we will cut off their elected representatives before they can lose our stranglehold on our, we mean their, pocketbooks. OOPS the cat is out of the bag. Now the union is trying to herd the cats back into line, but we refuse to believe their bullshit anymore!!! Maybe the ones that are paying the price for this fiasco will finally realize that we have to watch over this system if we want it to do what we expect it to do. VOTE NEW CHANGE !!!!
Meagan B. February 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM
The commission was called in to oversee EP's budget and finances because the city is nearly bankrupt. Let's not forget that crucial detail. The people of EP opposing the consequenting efforts to help them is shooting themselves in the foot. Nobody wants to see these programs cut, I'm sure. But in the interest of the city as a whole, and it's financial welfare, it should probably be received with less criticism. Blaming union workers, as mike 'veteran' and 'clean up' choose to do, should be an indication as to why neither of them work for this commission. And thus: that their uneducated suggestions display the root of the city's problems..
Arthur Dolloff February 25, 2012 at 11:31 PM
If they really were doing it for the kids, why wouldn't they do it for free, same as the teachers that claim it’s really about the children, not the benefits!!
JJD February 26, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Do you 'With All Due Respect' and 'Arthur Dolloff' work for free? When I go to work (as a private sector job) I have a passion for my job, but I still ask for my paycheck every two weeks, and when I get my annual raise, I don't say "No no no, pass it on to the clients, they're struggling in this economy" I take the raise because I have a family I have to look out for. It's silly to think a teacher is going to want to take less money when they have mortgage payments, bills, college tuition for their kids, etc, just like the rest of us, and they don't make big bucks to begin with, regardless of what some might think.
Rumford Resident February 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Jason When you get your 'annual raise' in the private sector, are you given a review? Do yhou have goals? Are you measured against goals? If your company had a bad year, do you still get the same increase in wages that you get every year, or are there certain years that the raise is less or none at all? The problem with the public sector unions is that they want it both ways. They don't want to be judged objectively, and they want to get annual pay increases and COLAs no matter what. Oh, and if the cities, towns, state, and federal government cant afford it in the budget, no problem, just raise taxes. This is the mentality that has brought us to the breaking point. ZERO accountability for people in public service unions (working and retired) and no more money. As to the sports issues, I happen to agree with you. I would not work for nothing anyway. Which creates the problem that the Budget Commission is trying to solve. There is no more money. They aren't going to screw the taxpayer. So they called this School Committee's bluff. They ALWAYS use sports as a way to get people fired up. Get a big crowd and people organizing etc. But the Budget Commission is saying if we cant afford it we have to cut it. I applaud them for it. Still waiting for Charlie Tsonos who was elected to deal with it to come up with a plan. In the interim, no sports for the kids
Rumford Resident February 26, 2012 at 11:54 AM
JR What did THIS school committee do for the last year? They saved recess! We all know that! But you keep talking about the last school committee. The one that had the courage to try to control the biggest budget item. They cut salaries to the teachers. They also started the partnership with Bradley. Increased spending for text books, computers, school repairs. They were the ones that got the bond issue passed to pay for repairs of 30 years of mismanagement. And they were trying to create a way to manage teachers to goals and be held accountable. I think we all know their record. And then the union hack 'Working Families of RI' dumped thousands into EP to get them out. So now we go to this school committee. I was able to articulate what the last one did. What did this one do? They got rid of the 'admin'! That was supposed to save TONS of money. If that were the case, why did Moodys downgrade and the Budget Commision show up after the last council and school committee showed up? As Arthur, r, and others on this site are showing loud and clear, its that Faria, Rossi, Lawson, Moura, Vinhateiro, and the other Democratic hacks cant do is pull the wool over the eyes of the voters this time. We aren't buying slogans like 'Its about the kids', 'Lowest paid', 'Cant we all get along'. No, the last year have shown what electing morons gets you. Luckily for EP, it gets you a reasonable Budget Commission.
JR February 26, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Rumford From the start, back in December of 2010, THIS school committee addressed the deficit! The topic was on nearly every agenda! The best answer Cirillo could come up with was TANS; to which the city council said NO. This school committe was handed a budget with a $1.2 million dollar addition to the deficit included! They reduced that hole, they took actions to reduce the inflated costs of the administration! Oh yes, they saved recess, AND they gave our children all day kindergarten!! They brought the community together along with Rebuilding Together and painted Oldham and Whitenact! And let us not forget that in their first budget, they set asside money to PAY DOWN the deficit!!! The Last School committee had 3 years to address the deficit! And what they accomplished was INCREASING the hole to over $6.5 million!!! During their 3 years they paid NOTHING, NOTHING toward reducing the deficit, all the while passing out raises to administrators, and they ran away passing out 22 "lame duck" contracts with more raises to the administration.
Rumford Resident February 26, 2012 at 01:50 PM
They did such a great job Moodys downgraded them and the state had to come in to babysit as they were deemed incapable. The unions are spewing this drivel but know one believes it because they witnessed the incompetency. Can you have Chrissy ask Tsonos is he is ready to let us in on his super secret plan to save sports? And ask her how the ad sales are going? March is next week. We only need to put up with these boobs for another few months......
Rumford Resident February 26, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Oh, and JR, I checked the archives of the Patch, and if THIS school committee managed the deficit on day one, why did you say the following in August 2011? "Rumford Is it October already??? Have the city council and school committee passed new budgets yet? How could they? Have you passed a budget?" It was in this story and chain... http://eastprovidence.patch.com/articles/city-leaders-debate-but-dont-solve-looming-deficit-problem So in August 2011, you said THIS school committee didnt need to worry about a budget after a half year in office, and today you say they were working on it from day one. The internet is a great way to keep folks honest. It outed Katie Kleyla (the liaison from the counci to the school committee.... How did that work out?) on her lies about health coverage and it allows the local folks in EP to have an honesty check of the union working families of RI lies. Cant wait for November!
Sandra Letizia February 26, 2012 at 03:22 PM
You can continue to blame the current elected officials for everything if that makes you happy. You can also elect a whole new group if you wish......it is not going to change the years of neglect that many cities and towns are facing and do not forget about our own state. Each politician will have their own agenda,just has each of us have our own opinions. Instate of playing the Monday quarterback put your name on the ballot and make a difference.
Veteran February 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Bring on the receiver and start over. An honest days work for an honest days pay. Double pay on 14 occasions is outrageous abuse of taxpayer money. The tax rate could be reduced by 40 percent with removing the low hanging fruit from these outrageous union contracts. Enough is enough.
Rags 1 February 26, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Major difference between the federal gov and the state and local govs is the Fed can print money. Deficit, no problem just print some more money. This concept includes both parties over a long period of our immediate past. Changing politicians may satisfy your emotion for political revenge, but it will not change the mentality unless the people take control. I agree with Sandra. If you don't change the protocol and process and start thinking "out of the box" then changing faces will have very little difference. Do we have any real leaders out there?
Arthur Dolloff February 26, 2012 at 10:27 PM
I have to agree with Rags on this statement, we are the ones responsible for keeping government on the right track. I have said this all along, we have to keep the politicians working on the right plans, never let them out of your sight, just like children. BUT. Yes the dreaded but; most people that speak out , run and hide when asked to work to keep the system on track...I don't have the time...I'm booked that day...I voted isn't that enough...They know what we want isn't that enough...UNTILL WE STAND UP AND FORCE THEM TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO SCREW US !! Don,t you people understand, we have to make them do the right thing, watch them constantly and speak put when they get it wrong. It is our responsibility if they continue to do it wrong.
Arthur Dolloff February 26, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I do not blane the union workers except to say that they knew these deals, they voted to accept, were going to reward them with more than anyone else working could reasonably expect to have. They knew that this windfall was going to come out of someones pocket, so yes I say they must share some of the blame. We all are going to share the pain and cost, I do not see why they should not share the pain and loss also !!
david sullivan February 27, 2012 at 06:53 PM
So will Katie run again considering there wll be no pay and no healthcare?
b1 February 28, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Maybe she can get a job coaching (at a private school)

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