East Greenwich Town Manager Bill Sequino, one of five members of a budget commission to help Woonsocket deal with a looming fiscal crisis, knows he and his fellows have a tough job ahead of them.
"I think they’ve got to increase cash flow," said Sequino Tuesday night. "As I’m told, they’re going to be out of money in two weeks."
The Budget Comission's first meeting is Friday. While he knew he was being considered for the post – which has no remuneration – he didn't learn he'd been named to the commission until late Tuesday afternoon.
Sequino has been town manager in East Greenwich since 1988. The only longer serving town manager in Rhode Island is Steve Alfred in South Kingstown.
In addition to Sequino, Rosemary Booth Gallogly, director of the Department of Revenue, appointed Peder Schaefer, associate director of the League of Cities and Towns, and retired school business officer Dina Dutremble. By statute, the other two members of the commission will be Mayor Leo Fontaine and City Council President John Ward.
Ward said he's comfortable with the group that's been selected for the panel, including Sequino. He said Sequino runs East Greenwich well.
City Councilman Albert Brien was not as enthusiastic as Ward. He said he wondered if Sequino and the other members of the commision were able to relate to the people of Woonsocket. "I'm not confident the answer is yes," Brien said.
When asked if he thinks it's ironic that Sequino is serving on the Budget Commission when some have criticized the disparity in state funding between more affluent municipalities such as East Greenwich and urban areas like Woonsocket, Fontaine said he can see that point.
But, he said, Sequino is someone who has been involved in goverment a long time, with a lot of experience fixing problems. Also, "I think it will draw open his eyes as to the challenges our urban community faces," he said.
Sequino said he's honored to have been asked, but said, "It's not going to be easy, that's for sure."