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5/2/2017 House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan Vehemently Against Plans for Regional Water Board That Rewards First Southwest and Former Deloitte Employees
STATE HOUSE  --  House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan (R-District 26 Coventry, Warwick, West Warwick) is opposing legislation that would create an eleven member regional board with the power to manage water systems and borrow funds to purchase or lease property.
A bill drafted by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s administration is currently before the House of Representatives and scheduled to be heard by the House Corporations Committee on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
If this bill passes the General Assembly, the Rhode Island Cooperative Water Authority would authorize an unelected Board to use the assets of the Water Supply Board to raise money that would be deposited into the severely unfunded Providence Municipal pension plans. 
“The purpose and structure of this proposal should trouble every Rhode Islander,” said Rep. Morgan.  “The Elorza administration hired First Southwest to develop the RFP for the valuation contract.  First Southwest has nine lives when it comes to Democrat politicians.  This is the same firm that the State successfully sued for its role in the 38 Studios scandal.  First Southwest ended up paying $16 million in penalties and now Providence has hired them.” 

“If that wasn’t enough they then hired a New Jersey firm, MR Valuation Consulting, to help find a solution to its financial woes. What makes this disturbing is the fact that 3 of MR Valuation Consulting’s principles, Dan Hoerig, Mark Rodriguez, and Peter A. Hoffman, are former Deloitte Consulting employees.  Deloitte, as many know, is the very same firm responsible for the troubled rollout of Rhode Island’s public benefits system, a $364 million computer system that launched in September and has been beset by technical problems, causing thousands of delays in distributing food stamp benefits to people across our state,” she added. 

"This is a very bad bill for many reasons. First of all it calls for the city of Providence to consider a one-time asset transfer, which would yield approximately $372 million.  It also puts the control of the board into the hands of only two people: the Governor and the Mayor of Providence. The people of Rhode Island will have virtually no say in the workings of a board that will tremendously impact a large portion of the available water supply in the state of Rhode Island. It is imperative the General Assembly is represented on this board.”

“I agree wholeheartedly with Rhode Island GOP Chairman Brandon Bell, who calls this legislation a scheme to bail out the city of Providence, by driving up the price of water bills across Rhode Island,” said Representative Morgan. 

“Tax-wise, Rhode Islanders already have a noose around their necks and taxpayers do not need to pay a hidden water tax to bail out the city of Providence.  This is nothing short of another money grab from the hard-working taxpayer.” Rep. Morgan said. 

For more information, contact:
Raina C. Smith, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2259