Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that, after stabilizing Central Falls' municipal finances, the Office of the Receiver is now pursuing additional cost reductions and increased operational efficiency through the consolidation of municipal functions and shared services between the City and the Central Falls School District.
State-appointed Receiver Robert G. Flanders, Jr. signed an order on February 13th creating the Department of Administration and Finance, an office of shared services that will oversee and coordinate all finance and administrative functions.
"As Central Falls eliminates duplicated services and tightens up operational efficiency, it also sends a message to other cities struggling both within Rhode Island and beyond, that consolidation and regionalization of services are vital steps on the road to recovery," said Governor Chafee.
"Consolidation will make the city more accountable to its citizens," observed Receiver Flanders. "Remember: every dollar saved through sharing services is one less dollar taken from taxpayers, one more dollar that can be reinvested in the community."
Added Chairwoman of the Central Falls School District Board of Trustees, Anna Cano-Morales, "Sharing services not only makes financial sense, it also lets us focus our energies and efforts on the students. Simply put, less administrative overlap means more time for our core function: student achievement."
"The merger of city and school offices is a major innovation," said Superintendent of the Central Falls School District, Dr. Frances Gallo. "Funds saved by doing so help balance the budget, while maintaining educational programming. Avoiding duplication of effort saves time and money while building a truly unified community where service to the public is a top priority."
Receiver Flanders has charged his chief of staff with the creation and management of the shared Department of Administration and Finance in phases, taking into account input from stakeholders.
As the first step in this process, the City's Departments of Code Enforcement and Planning are in the midst of moving to city offices at 1280 High Street in order to accommodate the move of the School District's finance and human resources functions into City Hall.