Rep. Serpa alarmed over $760,000 contract to fix financial woes at Rhode Island College
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick) said she was alarmed and disappointed by reports that the state Council on Postsecondary Education has hired an out-of-state firm to help Rhode Island College close a $10-million deficit.
“It appears that hiring an out-of-state consulting agency is the default strategy in this state,” said Representative Serpa, chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee. “This is a blatant cavalier attitude of disrespect for taxpayer dollars. Was the Board of Governors at Rhode Island College consulted about this? If not, why not? If so, did no one consider the possibility that colleges and universities nationwide have all had to reconfigure their strategies in light of COVID-19?”
The firm, New York-based Alvarez & Marsal, was hired with a no-bid contract on Dec. 14 at $76,000 a week in a contract that expires Feb. 28. The consultants are tasked with analysis and recommendations related to programmatic, operational and financial improvements.
“It’s my understanding that no-bid contracts are only permissible when they are necessitated by emergency situations,” said Representative Serpa. “I’m not convinced that this qualifies as an emergency. And spending over three-quarters of a million dollars to close a $10-million shortfall seems more than a little counterintuitive to me.”
Representative Serpa indicated that she would convene a meeting of the Oversight Committee to take a closer look at the contract and the firm.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903