Moore: Muksian’s Outrageous Severance Package

Monday, April 10, 2017
Russell Moore GoLocal MINDSETTER™

It’s good to know the right people in Rhode Island.

The rest of us can go pound sand, as far as the elites are concerned.

That’s was my reaction after reading GoLocal’s reporting, last weekend, on the massive severance package the city administration paid former Chief Operating Officer Robin Muksian.

On March 28, Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office announced that Muksian would resigned from the city. This announcement followed a GoLocal report that Muksian had pushed for an unqualified candidate to become the administrator to the Providence Board of Licenses, whose family just so happened to have a personal relationship as well as a prior business relationship with Muksian.

Big Bucks

Yet despite leaving the job supposedly through her own volition and under less than honorable circumstances, Elorza still saw fit to hand Muksian a $34,000 golden parachute--paid for by all of us--(even if you’re not from Providence, realize that about half of the city’s budget comes from state aid). Keep in mind: this woman only worked for the city since last August! Imagine how much of our money the mayor would have handed her if she worked for the city for two whole years? I do not even want to imagine. 

According to data listed on the state’s Department of Labor and Training Website, the median income in the City of Providence is $22,270.

To add insult to injury, the administration approved the massive severance package without city council approval, which the City Treasurer, in a scathing letter to the city council, argued violates the city charter.

“It was a payment for $34,215 with an amount deemed "severance" for $19,692 (attached). I immediately emailed the Controller's office to reverse the $19,692 severance portion of the payment and they stated that the Law Department opined it was proper,” wrote City Treasurer Jim Lombardi. “They refused to separate the payment. Unfortunately, this is a complete breakdown of the checks and balances authorized by the City Charter. “

Insult to Injury

Even if the severance was somehow legal without council approval, and that’s very much an open question, how does the mayor explain to Providence taxpayers that he decided to spend their money on a very generous severance package for an employee who wasn’t laid off, or even fired, but quit the job. Are there any other places in Rhode Island where this is even imaginable?

On top of all this, it’s not like Providence is on safe financial footing. On the contrary, the city is drowning in red ink, with total liabilities (made up mostly of pension and health care obligations for current and future retirees) nearing $2 billion.

My hope is that one day, (for I doubt I will see it in my lifetime), perhaps 100 years from now, children will read the history books about our state and instances like this or former Representative Donald Lally’s hiring by the Raimondo administration (against the spirit of revolving door statutes) and teachers will be able to tell the students that civic-minded reformers emerged and put a stop to all of the corruption that plagued Rhode Island in the beginning portion of the 21st century. I hope so.  

But I’m not optimistic.

Russell J. Moore has worked on both sides of the desk in Rhode Island media, both for newspapers and on political campaigns. Send him email at russmoore713. Follow him on twitter @russmoore713.

  • Bristol Warren Schools

    Total Liability: $22,072,077

    Unfunded Liability: $22,072,077

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/2013

     
  • Burrillville

    Total Liability: $2,510,127

    Unfunded Liability: $2,510,127

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Central Falls

    Total Liability: $12,000,546

    Unfunded Liability: $12,000,546

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 6/30/13

     
  • Chariho Schools

    Total Liability: $1,472,182

    Unfunded Liability: $1,472,182

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Coventry

    Total Liability: $12,523,000

    Unfunded Liability: $12,523,000

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Cranston Schools

    Total Liability: $26,287,884

    Unfunded Liability: $26,287,884

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 6/30/11

     
  • Cumberland

    Total Liability: $39,386,221

    Unfunded Liability: $39,386,221

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • East Greenwich

    Total Liability: $11,544,931

    Unfunded Liability: $11,544,931

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/10

     
  • East Greenwich Schools

    Total Liability: $4,110,870

    Unfunded Liability: $4,110,870

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/10

     
  • East Providence City 

    Total Liability: $76,217,756

    Unfunded Liability: $76,217,756

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 11/1/10

     
  • East Providence Schools

    Total Liability: $28,331,194

    Unfunded Liability: $28, 331,194

     % Funded: 0.00

    Valuation date: 11/1/10

     
  • Exeter W. Greenwhich Schools

    Total Liability: $3,999,389

    Unfunded Liability: $3,999,389

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Foster

    Total Liability: $780,502

    Unfunded Liability: $780, 502

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/09

     
  • Foster Glocester Schools

    Total Liability: $3,015,744

    Unfunded Liability: $3,015,744

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Glocester

    Total Liability: $2,104,978

    Unfunded Liability: $2,104,978

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Jamestown Schools

    Total Liability: $6,496,005

    Unfunded Liability: $6,496,005

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Jamestown

    Total Liability: $3,482,971

    Unfunded Liability: $3,482,971

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Johnston

    Total Liability: $199,586,608

    Unfunded Liability: $199,586,608

    % Funded: 0.00 %

    Valuation Date: 7/1/13

     
  • Little Compton

    Total Liability: $2,788,371

    Unfunded Liability: $2,788,371

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/13

     
  • Narragansett

    Total Liability: $71,347,783

    Unfunded Liability: $71,347,783

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • North Kingstown

    Total Liability: $36,223,703

    Unfunded Liability: $36,223,703

    % Funded: 0.00 %

    Valuation Date: 7/1/10

     
  • North Providence

    Total Liability: $66,227,000

    Unfunded Liability: $66,227,000

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • North Smithfield

    Total Liability: $7,141,640

    Unfunded Liability: $7,141,640

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/13

     
  • Pawtucket

    Total Liability: $309,654,353

    Unfunded Liability:$309,654,353

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/13

     
  • Portsmouth Schools

    Total Liability: $7,207,872

    Unfunded Liability: $7,207,872

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Providence

    Total Liability: $1,149,115,000

    Unfunded Liability: $1,149,115,000

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Scituate

    Total Liability: $3,977,363

    Unfunded Liability: $3,977,363

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 4/1/12

     
  • Tiverton

    Total Liability: $24,492,216

    Unfunded Liability: $24,492,216

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Warwick

    Total Liability: $223,593,412

    Unfunded Liability: $223,593,412

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Warwick Schools

    Total Liability: $37,833,649

    Unfunded Liability: $37,833,649

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • West Warwick

    Total Liability: $57,953,063

    Unfunded Liability: $57,953,063

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/13

     
  • Westerly Schools

    Total Liability: $974,441

    Unfunded Liability: $974,441

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Woonsocket

    Total Liability: $157,305,211

    Unfunded Liability: $157,305,211

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Woonsocket Schools

    Total Liability: $59,447,193

    Unfunded Liability: $59,447,193

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • New Shoreham

    Total Liability: $1,643,452

    Unfunded Liability: $1,643,452

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: NA

     
  • West Greenwich

    Total Liability: $73,250

    Unfunded Liability: $73,250

    % Funded: 0.00%

    Valuation Date: NA

     
  • Cranston

    Total Liability: $63,353,593

    Unfunded Liability: $63,098,440

    % Funded: 0.40%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Lincoln

    Total Liability: $15,778,660

    Unfunded Liability: $15,498,655

    % Funded: 1.80%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Portsmouth

    Total Liability: $13,090,922

    Unfunded Liability: $12,688,743

    % Funded: 3.10%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Smithfield

    Total Liability: $24,768,046

    Unfunded Liability: $23,790,579

    % Funded: 3.90%

    Valuation Date: 6/30/13

     
  • South Kingstown

    Total Liability: $19,260,000

    Unfunded Liability: $17,610,000

    % Funded: 8.60%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Middletown

    Total Liability: $33,178,340

    Unfunded Liability: $29,160,190

    % Funded: 12.10%

    Valuation Date: 6/30/13

     
  • Barrington Schools

    Total Liability: $19,496,370

    Unfunded Liability: $16,971,386

    % Funded: 13.00%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Warren

    Total Liability: $4,332,008

    Unfunded Liability: $3,592,138

    % Funded: 17.10%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/11

     
  • Barrington

    Total Liability: $5,992,513

    Unfunded Liability: $4,774,940

    % Funded: 20.30%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/10

     
  • Westerly

    Total Liability: $14,382,821

    Unfunded Liability: $10,909,168

    % Funded: 24.20%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/12

     
  • Newport

    Total Liability: $119,400,005

    Unfunded Liability: $90,372,187

    % Funded: 24.30%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/13

     
  • Bristol

    Total Liability: $16,495,428

    Unfunded Liability: $11,979,428

    % Funded: 27.40%

    Valuation Date: 7/1/14

     
Delivered Free Every
Day to Your Inbox