One of the more difficult bond issues to understand is Question 6, calling for a Constitutional Convention to establish co-equal branches of government, specifically to exclude legislators from serving on the boards and commissions they create and oversee. It's not the issue that's difficult to understand, but rather the failure of the various groups that support it, to lobby sufficiently for it.
Only in late September did Common Cause and other groups begin an effort to gain support for this advisory, non-binding referendum. We agree that a Constitutional Convention is important to explore how our boards and commissions are appointed, and whether the legislature should have the right to create and appoint members to boards and commissions that control hundreds, maybe thousands of state jobs and millions of dollars.
Common Cause and others suggest that having legislators both appoint and serve on these boards and commissions leads to considerable abuse and potential corruption. However, legislators don't have a corner on abuse and corruption. The credit union crisis was a combined effort, from weak oversight laws, to the failure of the Department of Business Regulation, its banking division and the executive branch's failure to act well in advance of what was becoming to them a potential disaster.
We've had a governor spend time in jail, judges and legislators and other officials all wielding considerable power, some without proper authority. But in the end, Rhode Island is probably no more corrupt than other states.
That's probably why it's a good idea to follow the lead of others and assure there is the separation of powers that gives us the best chance at avoiding abuse and corruption.
There are still many questions over this issue, and we are disappointed that Common Cause, Operation Clean Government, the Governor's office and others who advocate the Constitutional Convention have not done a better job educating the public of the necessity for the Constitutional change.
PBN is now accepting applications for its newest award program and event for RI & Bristol County to celebrate the Manufacturing Renaissance that is evolving regionally and across the country. The deadline for applications is March 20th.
PBN's annual Book of Lists has been an essential resource for the local business community for almost 30 years. The Book of Lists features a wealth of company rankings from a variety of fields and industries, including banking, health care, real estate, law, hospitality, education, not-for-profits, technology and many more.