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By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PAWTUCKET – Through executive order on Thursday, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee created a task force to help facilitate shared services among Pawtucket, Central Falls and East Providence.
The five-member panel will be led by John C. Simmons, executive director of the R.I. Public Expenditure Council.
The task force also will include Rhode Island’s director of revenue, Rosemary Booth Gallogly, as well as the mayor of Pawtucket, the city manager of East Providence and the Central Falls receiver, or their designees.
“The fiscal health of Rhode Island’s communities has been and remains a key priority of my administration,” said Chafee in a release announcing the decision.
“In these difficult economic times, when our cities and towns continue to struggle from deep cuts in state aid, the time has come for the idea of shared services to be seriously examined,” added Chafee. “This panel will lay the groundwork for interactions between municipalities to help them achieve significant efficiencies and savings in cost areas they share in common.”
Chafee’s executive decision followed a request from Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien seeking support for the special panel and a formal way through which municipalities could share some of their services in a mutually cost-effective manner.
“Shared services is something my administration has focused on since taking office as part of our business-model approach to government,” said Grebien. “I am confident Pawtucket can provide municipal services in well-defined areas by working with other communities for the benefit of all involved, especially the taxpayers.”
In addition to public works, the panel will examine “other similarly appropriate areas of municipal government” for shared services potential, and report its findings and recommendations on a periodic basis, according to the governor’s release.