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Budget Commission Approves School Finance Controller Hire

Tricia Mallozzi recommended by review committee comprised of city, school, state officials.

 

The Woonsocket Budget Commission approved the hiring of Tricia Mallozzi as the School Department's new financial controller Thursday afternoon.

The apparently inadequately executed duties of the financial controller position, resulting in the lack of accurate tracking of School Department spending, has been blamed for much of the disarray of School accounts. 

In March, City Finance Director Thomas Bruce told Woonsocket Patch the school department had not balanced its checkbook since last July. Business Manager Stacy Busby left in Februrary after it became clear the surplus she'd assured officials of was actually a deficit. The city's $15 million cumulative deficit, according to City Finance Director Thomas Bruce, comes from a previous $8 million deficit and a roughly $7 million deficit projected for the current year, on the school department's books. 

That level of understanding was arrived at after months of work by the School Committee and a series of private and state auditors. During those efforts, many people looking at the School Department's books, including School Committee members and state officials, remarked the record of school spending was often puzzling.

Mallozzi is tasked with changing that going forward.

"Ms. Mallozzi was recommended to me by the initial interview committee comprised of City Council President John Ward, City Finance Director Tom Bruce, School Committee members Mrs. Eleanor Nadeau and Mr. Chris Roberts, Human Resources Director Kathy Lombardo and Interim School Finance Director Ralph Malafronte. I, along with Carolyn Dias, Chief of Fiscal Integrity and Efficiencies at the RI Depeartment of Education, also interviewed Ms. Mallozzi," said Schools Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan.

Mallozzi is a graduate of Bryant College, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a minor in applied statistics. "Since 2005, she has worked in increasingly more responsible accounting positions as an accounting assistant, senior accountant and audit associate," Donoyan said. 

Mallozzi most recently worked as an audit associate for LGC&D, CPAs of Providence from Aug. 2010 until now. Prior to that she worked as a senior accountant for Ashley, Brown & Company, CPAs of Punta Gorda, Fla., from Oct. 2005 till Jun 2010.

Mallozzi will be paid $72,000 per year, with her vacation time and benefits to be determined at a later date by the School Committee.

Budget Commission Chairman Bill Sequino expressed concern that Mallozzi's benefits and vacation were not yet ironed out. Budget Commissioner Mayor Leo Fontaine noted that other recent hires had been made without those elements of their employment decided, including two principals. 

Peder Schaefer made a motion to approve the hire, which was seconded by Fontaine and approved by the Commission. Mallozzi will be on a six-month probationary period. 

Commissioner John Ward offered his opinion on Mallozzi. "Anything that I learned in my interview with her led me to believe she is a highly qualified candidate," he said.

John September 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM
DR, What you are forgetting is that the City Counsel took the school committee to court to make them fit a 66 million dollar budget into 59 million. The school committee or past finance directors had no say in that, the judge agreed with the city counsel and told the school committee the city was not responsible to fund education. Then when the spending went over 59 million due state mandates and not enough things to cut the city counsel did the political thing and said they couldn't understand why the school committee turned in a 59 million dollar budget....that they forced them into!!
John September 24, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Steve, The 63-64 million dollar number you speak of does not count the Federal Dollars. With the Federal Contribution it is has been a 74 million dollar budget. Woonsocket gets between 10 and 12 million each year from the Feds but it is never in the local number that is discussed.
DR September 25, 2012 at 03:25 PM
John what I was trying to say is the school dept. has been running on 66 million the last 3 years and the city expected the school dept to run on 59 million.No cuts were made but the mayor and council were surprised to see a 7 million deficit.Why be surprised? You can't make cuts in the middle of the school year and its going to take more than cuts to get several million you need concessions also. Looks like the judge was wrong because the city is responsible to fund education.
Donnie September 25, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Employing College Students to do a highly trained and experienced PROFESSIONALS job had to be the dumbest idea I've heard since the square wheel. If you honestly believe that college students with no knowledge of complex governmental accounting principles could handle the job of a controller, then you need some serious mental counseling. Everyone loves to complain about paying for things we need while our country continues to deteriorate. Let me guess you people expected hope/change and voted for Obama too.
Steve September 25, 2012 at 09:34 PM
John, as far as I know, the 66 million dollar budget includes local, state and federal funding. If there's other funding that is not included in the 66 million, then why has the WED agreed to a 66 million dollar budget and why is this the number going forward? If you’re saying the real budget is 74 million, please clarify, because obviously the WED can't........

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