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Monday, September 12, 2016

Council-Sanctioned Review of Licensing Operation Calls for Sweeping Changes

The Providence City Council today released a comprehensive review of the Providence Board of Licenses conducted by former Attorney General Jeff Pine. The report identifies systemic issues in the Board’s current operations and provides recommendations to improve efficiencies, procedures, and accountability.
 
The report was commissioned by the City Council to address growing concerns regarding the Board’s ability to provide business owners and the public with consistent licensing procedures that balance the City’s need for a healthy economy and public safety. “The Board of Licenses is the place in local government where quality of life and economic vibrancy intersect,” said Council President Luis Aponte. “This report reinforces our message that the Providence business community needs greater predictability and accessibility within the licensing process, and the people of Providence need the Board to operate consistently and hold businesses accountable when violations occur.”
 
“It is abundantly clear that at present the Board is not serving the citizens of Providence at an acceptable or required standard,” said Pine. “It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that the Board function and perform its duties at the highest professional level, following its own rules consistently, removing politics from the equation, creating a public-friendly environment, and holding accountable those who violate any rules, regulations or laws.”
 
Among the report’s many recommendations are the development and implementation of professional standards and guidelines, greater Board training and support, the utilization of more efficient technology, and a new hearing location and schedule to better accommodate business owners and members of the community in a more professional and public-friendly environment.
 
“This initiative is part of the Council’s ongoing effort to bolster and grow the City’s economy while protecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan. “The Council also recently won support at the state level to modernize liquor license classifications which provide businesses with a predictable regulatory framework.”
 
The City Council will formally accept the report at the City Council meeting on Thursday, September 15 and is expected to pass a resolution requesting implementation from Mayor Elorza. Aponte is hopeful that these reforms will be implemented soon.