"Bill Sequino left us again, this time permanently. He is being replaced by Carolyn Dias," said Budget Commission Chairwoman Dina Dutremble. Sequino's brief return to the Commission was one the former Commission Chairman said would be temporary.
During the summer of 2012, Dias was the fifth person to help straighten out the Woonsocket School Department's budgets. Dias followed Bacon & Edge Consulting, Interim Finance Director Ralph Malafronte, current Commission Member Dina DuTremble, and Robert Civetti of Braver in the endeavor.
During the public comment segment of the meeting, City Council Vice President Dan Gendron offered a welcome tempered by an ambivalence to the idea of the Budget Commission itself. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope your stay here in Woonsocket is a short one," Gendron said.
In response to ardent questioning from Charles Lemoine on the Budget Commission's noted immunity to regular Open Meeting Law, Budget Commission member and City Council President John Ward asked Commission Counsel Edwin Alves to list the circumstances under which the Budget Commission is bound to state Open Meeting Law under the Fiscal Stability Act. The list is:
(1) Levy and assessment of taxes;
(2) Rulemaking or suspension of rules;
(3) Adoption of a municipal budget;
(4) Approval of collective bargaining agreements and amendments to collective bargaining agreements; and
(5) Making a determination under § 45-9-7 that the powers of the budget commission are insufficient to restore fiscal stability to the city or town.
Ward went further in defense of the Commission's adherence to Open Meeting Law under the Fiscal Stability Act, noting that the panel acts as an administrative body as well as a legislative body (superseding the administrative roles of the superintendent and mayor), and the Fiscal Stability Act provides them the flexibility to act in both capacities, "...because our role changes moment to moment depending on what we're doing," he said, often requiring them to discuss elements of administration often protected under Open Meeting Law exemptions. "It's become disturbing to me that we're being accused of operating in secret and we're not," Ward said.
The Commission again tabled an enactment to effect changes on the firefighter's union, IAFF Local 732 that the Budget Commission is currently tying to negotiate instead. They also tabled an approval of bids to supply miscellaneous athletic supplies for a total of $10,545.90.
The Commission approved the remainder of their agenda, including $121,660.93 for school janitorial supplies, $11,796.65 for school nursing medical supplies, $2,730.28 for school athletic medical supplies, $7,700.92 for school athletic uniforms and $12,500 for training on the school system's Keystone financial software.
The Commission also approved an extension of the school department's before and after child care provider contract with KidsKlub, generating $24,000 for the School Department.