After merging state financial offices into a single Office of Management and Budget this year, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee needed someone to lead the new entity and turned to the General Assembly, where many of his fiscal proposals have died. In then-Senate Fiscal Adviser Peter M. Marino, he found someone with experience shaping the state budget and critiquing it with the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council. In addition to the traditional roles of the offices it combined, the new OMB will do more data analysis, a common refrain in suggestions for improving the Rhode Island economic climate. Five months after taking the job, Marino is now working on the first state budget proposal crafted under the new structure, one that, as always, promises tough decisions.
PBN: What offices were combined into the Office of Management and Budget and what is the new entity’s purpose?
MARINO: There were four offices combined: the State Budget Office, Office of Performance Management, Office of Regulatory Reform and Office of Grant Management. The responsibilities of the OMB are to enhance the state’s public finance and budget process, monitor departments and agencies’ overall performance, maximize use of federal grant funds and establish a clear, predictable and reliable regulatory system. Overall, the mission is to be the source for credible and accurate financial-management information.
PBN: Are there more employees in the merged office or fewer?
MARINO: In all there are about 30 employees. At the moment I am the only additional employee. However, we are recruiting to resource some work in the regulatory-reform office, because that is one of the key objectives the governor is trying to get moved and done well.
PBN: What is different with the new OMB structure?