NORTHERN PROVIDENCE – Following the revelation last week that Maria Vallee won a salary of $ 181,000 for holding two positions last year, Mayor Charles Lombardi has said he plans to maintain base salary de Vallee by $ 133,304, but to reduce her to an official position.
Lombardi, following a report from WPRI on Valley’s pay level, said Vallée is worth every penny the city pays him, as evidenced by another clean audit report last week and reserve accounts which now exceed $ 15 million after another surplus of $ 1.3 million. The city has never been in this kind of financial situation, he said, and Vallée is the reason listeners found no shortcomings on the city side.
“I think that says a lot about Ms. Vallée’s professional management of our financial affairs, which helps me achieve my goal of financial stability and another year without a tax increase,” he said.
In addition to removing the title of controller and keeping Vallee as CFO, Lombardi said he will also remove Vallee from the union and the additional benefits that come with it.
“Are we all perfect?” No, ”he said of his reaction to the WPRI report and the fact that paying Vallée’s salaries for two positions was a charter violation. “But if there are any shortcomings here, I will fix them.”
He added, “I put my hat on the bottom line,” and it is the fact that Vallée’s work is always great for North Providence and its taxpayers. He said he makes no apologies for running the city the best way he knows how.
“In this new budget, it will be $ 133,000 for a CFO only,” he said. “This woman will be director of finance as long as I am mayor.
The Breeze asked why Lombardi hadn’t removed Vallee from the job of union comptroller earlier. “It’s a good question,” he said, but it will be resolved now.
The charter allows a person occupying two positions to be paid only for the higher of the two. Vallée receives $ 78,393 as controller and $ 54,911 as CFO.
Board Chairman Dino Autiello agreed this week that the base salary of $ 133,000 for Vallee as CFO is fair, saying he looked at comparable communities last week and found salaries of between 120 000 and $ 130,000. Going forward, he said, Vallée needs to be in one position, not two, and he said he was clear with Lombardi on that.
With the longevity salary taken into account, Vallée earned $ 144,000 in base salary last year.
Autiello said it was not clear on the breakdown of the $ 33,825 payment Vallee received after a six-year settlement of contract increases with the city. The city charter was created in the 1970s under Mayor Sal Mancini and is very “heavy mayor,” Autiello said, with the council not having had the opportunity to participate in union negotiations or even see a breakdown of certain expenses.
“We don’t get payroll records when we do budget hearings,” he said. During last year’s budget discussions, he said, the “convoluted” topic of Vallee serving in both positions came up and some board members left believing she would receive two full salaries while that others thought otherwise. He said he believed she would receive non-rank union pay on top of her CFO’s salary, not full additional pay.
Of the $ 33,850 in one-time retroactive pay that other union members received after a settlement, Lombardi said many other employees have also received large totals due to their longevity. The payments, he said, were made on the basis of six years without a contract with the local 1033 workers’ union.
He said the question at the center of this stalemate was whether the union would allow him to promote people based on their performance and not just based on seniority, and he ended up winning that fight.
“I needed the opportunity to make the best team possible,” said Lombardi.
Of the 58 employees who benefited from this settlement of $ 758,467 two years ago, 14 of them received $ 15,000 each or more under contract terms. These employees are: Ron Starnino, at $ 15,080; Julie Zanni, at $ 15,158; Troy Campopiano, at $ 15,398; Larry Labbadia, at $ 15,487, Richard Pezzillo, at $ 15,524; Chris Lesik, at $ 15,669; Al Costa, at $ 16,322; Romeo D’Andrea, at $ 16,471; James Grimes, at $ 16,561; Mike Carnevale, at $ 17,950; Rich Arcaro, at $ 19,732; Mike Mooney, at $ 20,013; Bernie Salvatore, at $ 26,737; and Vallée, at $ 33,825.
Of the six years taken into account in the settlement, Vallée was only CFO for the last two of them, Lombardi noted.
The Valley Breeze is committed to keeping quality news like this free for our readers. You can be a big part of this local journalism success story by making a one-time or monthly contribution to what we do every week. Thanks as always for reading.
He said he tried to be consistent in his push to combine two positions into one to save money.
Lombardi said that having Vallee fill both roles at $ 133,000, after years without a CFO following the departure of former CFO Justin Cambio, saves the city tens of thousands of dollars in n Not having to hire a financial director for $ 120,000 plus a controller for $ 70,000 with an accompaniment of $ 22,000. the city’s health care program, and Vallée is also by far the best person to oversee North Providence’s $ 110 million budget.
“I cherish her knowledge, and give her all the credit and responsibility for her,” he said of the 22-year-old employee. “She’ll be here as long as I’m here.”
Vallée was here before his tenure, Lombardi said, when the city ran a $ 10 million deficit and borrowed $ 10.5 million to pay its bills. It went from junk bond status to A1 rating with agencies, with a surplus of $ 15 million and the same amount of cash on hand.
The city did not have a finance director three years ago, he said, and Vallée has continued to increasingly take on the duties of the position. Vallee served as interim financial director at North Providence from 2007 to 2011, but resigned as the Rhode Island Ethics Commission investigated her for securing a federal loan she was not entitled to through the city. She was forced to repay the $ 48,000 loan plus $ 78,000 in damages under an agreement signed in the summer of 2013, and was also fined $ 8,000 by the Commission of ethics.
According to WPRI, Lombardi said she also received $ 32,000 in non-rank pay in 2017 because she was then CFO, but this year’s audit lists John McNamee as interim CFO. The Breeze reported in May 2018 that McNamee was stepping down.
Vallée earned just over $ 100,000 combined in 2017-18 and 2018-19 before his salary increased by 45% with the combination of the two positions.