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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Council Releases Report on Financial Management

Today, Providence City Council President Michael A. Solomon received the findings and recommendations of Fiscal Adviser Gary Sasse and Internal Auditor Matt Clarkin’s “Corrective Action Plan to Restore Sound Financial Management.” The report was an overview of the management of City Finances commissioned by the Providence City Council, tasked to uncover the underlying causes of Providence’s fiscal crisis and identify areas for improvement.

“Mr. Sasse and Auditor Clarkin’s report is both informative and alarming,” said the Council President. “It sheds light on significant deficiencies in the management of City finances, but also prescribes real solutions to amend them. Having reviewed the far reaching recommendations I can say City Council leadership supports these oversight measures, and will work swiftly to ensure proper legislative follow through.”

Recommendations in the report include: replenishing the City’s “Rainy Day Fund,” forming an Audit Committee to oversee accounting procedures, and instituting mechanisms to ensure management compliance with the City Charter. “I applaud Mr. Sasse and Auditor Clarkin’s work developing a proper system of checks and balances,” said Majority Leader Seth Yurdin. “Through these recommendations the Council will build a more efficient, more accountable, and more open government. We are taking the steps necessary to make the government that the people of Providence deserve.”

This March, President Solomon requested the services of Mr. Sasse and charged him with the task of reviewing Providence’s finances. “Together with Mr. Sasse, our office extensively researched what led to this category five storm, but our focus has been on developing solutions to ensure it never happens again,” said Internal Auditor Matt Clarkin. “Ultimately, what we described in our report was a dysfunctional system in great need of reform. As the Internal Auditor, I am honored to have worked with Mr. Sasse and proud of the City Council's dedication to proper fiscal oversight.” 

Mr. Sasse will continue to serve under the Office of the Internal Auditor until his work is complete. He has played an active role in the rebuilding and restructuring of Providence’s financial structure in the past, most notably as executive director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council.

“Good government begins with a full assessment of where we stand,” said Mr. Sasse. “The Internal Auditor, City Council leadership, and I are all encouraged by Mayor Taveras’ commitment to fiscal integrity. While our charge was to present solutions to the dysfunction that we saw to the City Council, it is imperative to note the assistance of the current Administration and everyone’s willingness to put Providence on sound financial footing.”