WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – The finance director for one of the state's most cash-strapped communities is resigning from his post after less than five months on the job, WPRI.com has learned.
Brian Silvia, who was appointed West Warwick's finance director in September after holding the same position in North Smithfield, told WPRI.com that he has accepted a similar job with another municipality. He said he did not wish to name the town until he is officially confirmed for the post.
"It's just a different opportunity," Silvia said.
Silvia's resignation comes less than a month after the town reported that it is projecting a $1.2 million deficit at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year and a $10.1 million budget gap by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year. The town has proposed raising taxes and cutting benefits to help close the deficit.
"It's an awfully awkward time to not have a finance director, but he sees better pastures on the other side," Councilman Angelo Padula said. "Run. Don't look back."
On Wednesday, the town will hold a public forum with its retirees as it attempts to repair its troubled pension fund, which town officials say was only 19.8% funded as of July 2011. In a Jan. 16 letter to the retirees, Town Manager Michael Stampfler explained that the town's "current and future obligations to its employees, retirees and creditors greatly exceed the town's current and future revenues."
Stampfler continued: "Among other items, the town is laboring under healthcare and pension obligations that are simply unsustainable on a short and long term basis."
Padula said he hopes an agreement can be reached with the retirees and the town's public employee unions to reform the pension system, but acknowledged that he isn't sure what will come out of the meeting.
He said he is looking forward to a productive meeting.
"We've had bad investments and bad people on the pension board," Padula said. "We have no vested interest in the pension. We're trying to save the pensions."