MESSAGE FROM SUE CIENKI, EAST GREENWICH TOWN COUNCIL PRESIDENT
November 13, 2018
As this Town Council transitions to the recently elected group, I wanted to provide the residents of our great town one final “state of the state” financial overview.
But first, I would like to thank all my fellow councilors for giving their time, energy and passion for East Greenwich. Public service is a bedrock of our town government and residents stepping up for our town must be thanked and congratulated for their efforts.
Second, this Town Council was confronted with many unknown financial issues stemming from a lack of oversight and labor contracts whose financial impact was underestimated by millions of dollars and are financially unsustainable. We uncovered unapproved and illegal memorandums of agreements (side deals) costing the town hundreds of thousands more. $1,700,000 was paid by the town because of illegal taxes on local businesses collected by the fire district several years ago.
What started out as a deep dive into the School Department's finances to determine the cause of a structural deficit eventually took us down several rabbit holes. Lewis Carroll has nothing on the story of East Greenwich!
After we uncovered the root causes of the financial issues facing the town and considered the macroeconomic view of East Greenwich, we had a strategic decision to make - aggressively cut expenses or raise taxes at a higher rate than what East Greenwich residents had already experienced.
We decided East Greenwich had a spending problem and chose the to cut expenses. This decision led to a backlash by some of the labor unions and lawsuits brought by terminated employees and the noise level amplified. But this is what I am most proud of about this outgoing Town Council – the courage to fight on behalf of the residents and not just “go along to get along” specifically with the Unions.
A new Town Council will be sworn in soon, and I and my fellow outgoing Town Councilors wish them luck solving the severe financial issues we have uncovered on behalf of the residents and summarized in this letter.
EG Town Council President