By DANIEL KITTREDGE Now in office at City Hall, Mayor Ken Hopkins has initiated the process of having picks for several key leadership posts confirmed by the City Council. The council on Monday forwarded a list of nine names submitted by the mayor to its
Now in office at City Hall, Mayor Ken Hopkins has initiated the process of having picks for several key leadership posts confirmed by the City Council.
The council on Monday forwarded a list of nine names submitted by the mayor to its Finance Committee for a special meeting on Jan. 21. The committee, after its own hearing and vote, would forward the nominees on to the full council.
The list, as previously reported, includes several new appointees and a few holdovers from Allan Fung’s administration.
The new names include Christopher Millea as city solicitor, Raymond Tessaglia as parks and recreation director, Stephen Craddock as director of senior services, Franklin Paulino as director of economic development and Timothy Sanzi as director of community development.
Daniel Parrillo, who served as Fung’s director of administration, has been nominated as director of personnel under Hopkins. Public Works Director Ken Mason, Finance Director Robert Strom and Building Official David Rodio will all continue in their roles contingent on council approval.
The council on Monday also forwarded two proposed budget transfers to the special Jan. 21 committee meeting. Those proposals have to do with several title and salary changes, as well as the elimination and addition of a handful of positions, being proposed by the new administration.
Among the proposed changes are the creation of a new administrative assistant position in the mayor’s office, with a salary of $40,197; an increase in the pay for a position in the mayor’s office that will now carry the title “communications coordinator,” from roughly $36,000 to $44,880; the elimination of assistant positions in both the finance and personnel offices; an increase in the salary for the director of senior services, from roughly $59,000 to $74,651; and an increase in the economic development director’s salary, from roughly $64,000 to $72,380.
There are several other smaller changes, too, all outlined in the ordinances attached with Monday’s council agenda.
Director of Administration Anthony Moretti on Monday said what is being proposed would have a net zero effect on the city’s budget and that the moves constitute a “realignment” of resources “to correspond with the way that [Hopkins] wants to establish the administration.”
For example, Moretti said, the communications coordinator position in the mayor’s office – a role filled by Steven Paiva, who also served under Fung – will have “increasing responsibilities” in the new administration.
The proposed salary increase for the senior services position, Moretti said, is also tied to an envisioned expansion of responsibilities – particularly in terms of outreach to seniors living in Cranston Housing Authority facilities.
As confirmation of the new appointees and consideration of the proposed changes await, Moretti said Hopkins’s administration is facing some early staffing challenges due to COVID-19.
“Many” key employees were out of the office as of Monday due to positive tests or contact tracing, he said. The work of the new administration, he said, was going on with a “pretty skeleton crew.” He added that those affected are reported to be doing well.
Elsewhere in terms of the COVID crisis, Moretti on Monday said the state of emergency declared by Fung at the outset of the pandemic remains in effect based on a review from legal advisers. He said the administration continues to review supplemental orders issued during the Fung administration.
Additionally, regarding the approach to filling out the administration, Moretti defended Hopkins’s commitment to diversity in light of some criticism on social media and elsewhere over the selections that have been made. He noted that many members of the Fung administration are being kept aboard – which limited the number of positions to fill – and that the appointments include multiple women and people of color.
“Mayor Hopkins can ensure everybody that he is totally committed to diversity in the city … Certainly, we’re out to find the best people,” he said, adding: “I think we’ve done a good job.”