STATE HOUSE - House Speaker William J. Murphy and House Majority Leader Gordon D. Fox are conducting a full review of all personnel practices and procedures to accomplish their goal of making the General Assembly more open, efficient and professional.
“Our review of the problems we inherited is already well under way, and we have to admit that they run deeper than first anticipated,” said Murphy. “It is going to take time during this period of transition into office to establish the type of changes which are long overdue. You can’t address decades of past practices in ten days or ten weeks. We are confident that the public and the media will provide us with the appropriate time to conduct a comprehensive review and implement new policies and procedures with a goal towards making this legislature a model of efficiency that the people of the State of Rhode Island expect and deserve.”
Marisa White, the former director of administration in the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, is conducting the review as part of her many duties as Murphy’s executive administrator.
“We are fortunate that Ms. White has the education and experience to take on this daunting task,” said Murphy. “In the past four years as director of administration for the Attorney General, she had full oversight of the administration of that department. There she gained an excellent reputation for overseeing a fiscally controlled agency that performed efficiently due to its formal policies and procedures.”
Ms. White is a member of Murphy’s transition team and had numerous discussions with him regarding the need for the implementation and oversight of formal policies and procedures in both the employment practices and operations of the Legislature. These discussions took place long before recent published reports about the Legislature’s past spending practices.
Murphy and Fox said they have already taken several measures, which include:
Terminating all summer interns, with the exception of one who has been working part-time on the staff of the Commission on Gaming, who continued to work after the summer months and remained on the payroll as of this week.
Having learned this week as part of their internal review, Murphy and Fox have terminated existing contracts with temporary employees who were hired through an outside employment agency.
Murphy and Fox have ordered that all cell phones issued to House staff members be turned in immediately while they are reviewing whether there is a need for any staff member to have a cell phone.