Elorza’s Former Chief of Staff is $5,000 a Month Lobbyist For Traffic Camera Company

Saturday, March 10, 2018
GoLocalProv News Team

Elorza's ex-chief of staff gets $5,000 per month from Traffic Camera vendor
Mayor Jorge Elorza has close political ties to the State House lobbyist for Conduent, Inc., the company who owns and operates the traffic cameras that have issued more than 17,000 tickets and could potentially reap millions in revenue.

Tony Simon, who served as Elorza’s Chief of until July of 2016, now operates a political consulting firm and is a significant donor to top Democrats -- and is a $5,000 a month lobbyist for Conduent at the Rhode Island State House. 

Conduent is a $6 billion publicly traded company.  A leading segment of its business is technology applications to help cities and states drive revenue through camera and tolling technology.

“From fare collection to intelligent transportation systems (ITS), we meet public transit daily operational challenges with innovative and efficient transportation management solutions. We help you reduce operational costs and improve services—whether through flexible payment methods or reliable schedules. We help make transit simple for passengers worldwide,” says the company on its website.

Elorza's Conduent Ties

Conduent's agreement with the City of Providence is highly profitable for the Washington, D.C. based company.  It is paid $2,978 per month for each camera and $7.50 per violation processed.

Camera monthly fees alone top $32,000. And, with nearly 20,000 tickets now issued and if all violations are processed the total income in two-months for tickets is approximately $150,000.

More than a thousand went to court Monday to respond to tickets
According to Rhode Island campaign finance records, Simon has given Elorza $600 in campaign donations since leaving his office. He has also donated $500 to Governor Gina Raimondo and $200 to both Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he supported a proposal put forth by a Democratic colleague.

“I have mixed feelings about the school-zone speed cameras. Obviously, too many tickets have been given out.  However, I have a real concern about the safety of children and these drivers are exceeding the speed limit by at least 11 miles per hour near neighborhood schools,' said Mattiello. 

"While the intent of the cameras is laudable, I am working with Rep. Robert Craven to amend his 2016 legislation to provide warnings before tickets are issued and to reduce the fines," said Mattiello. "He is working with me and my legal staff on an amendment he intends to introduce next week.”

Simon was unavailable to comment for the story and the other Rhode Island registered lobbyist for the company, Tanya Donalty, said she was not authorized to speak for the company.

"I'm also a consultant, so I would not be able to answer any questions [on Simon]," said Donalty.

Donalty said that Ken Adami, the Vice-President of Government Affairs for Conduent would be the one to comment; Adami did not return a call on Friday afternoon

WPRI also reported that Simon had been hired.

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