Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today signed Executive Order 12-03, creating a task force to help facilitate shared services among Pawtucket, Central Falls, and East Providence, beginning in the area of public works operations.
The Governor has designated John Simmons, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC), to chair the task force, which will also include Rhode Island Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly and representatives of the three cities.
"The fiscal health of Rhode Island's communities has been and remains a key priority of my Administration," Governor Chafee said. "In these difficult economic times, when our cities and towns continue to struggle from deep cuts in state aid, the time has come for the idea of shared services to be seriously examined. This panel will lay the groundwork for interactions between municipalities to help them achieve significant efficiencies and savings in cost areas they share in common."
The Governor's action follows a request by Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien seeking support for the special panel and a formal way in which municipalities such as Pawtucket could share some of their services in a mutually cost-effective manner.
"I want to thank Governor Chafee for continuing to support innovative solutions for the difficult financial challenges that so many of our cities and towns in Rhode Island are facing today," Grebien said. "Shared services is something my administration has focused on since taking office as part of our business-model approach to government. I am confident Pawtucket can provide municipal services in well-defined areas by working with other communities for the benefit of all involved, especially the taxpayers."
Besides Simmons and Booth Gallogly, the panel will be comprised of the Mayor of Pawtucket, the City Manager of East Providence, and the Central Falls Receiver, or their designees.
According to the Executive Order creating the Governor's Task Force on Shared Municipal Services, the panel will make recommendations on a course of action to the cities of Pawtucket, Central Falls, and East Providence. Under existing legislation approved by the General Assembly, all municipalities may participate in such cooperative arrangements as they may determine.
Besides public works, the panel will also examine "other similarly appropriate areas of municipal government" for shared services potential, and report its findings and recommendations on a periodic basis.