It’s been four years since Providence had a fire chief. Elorza might give up power over city schools.
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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Biggest Little. I’m Dan McGowan and I strongly oppose NBA coaches having challenge flags. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
Providence might have a budget, but it still doesn’t have a fire chief.
It has now been four years since Clarence Cunha retired as chief of the Providence fire department, but the city has struggled to find a replacement during an on-and-off search that spanned nearly all of Mayor Jorge Elorza’s first term in office and has now creeped into his second term.
So what’s the holdup?
You might remember that when Cunha retired, Providence was just at the starting point of what would become a bitter dispute with its firefighters’ union as Elorza tried to control overtime spending in the department. There were pickets and protests. Grievances and lawsuits piled up. Finding a chief in that climate was nearly impossible.
The city then paid a headhunting firm $25,000 to gather a list of candidates and at least 30 people have applied for the job over the last four years, but a mandatory retirement age of 60 and a maximum salary ($168,000) that fell on the low end for cities of Providence’s size meant no one ultifmately took the job. The retirement age and salary have since been raised.
The City Council has become so convinced that a new chief won’t be named that it tried to eliminate funding for the job in this year’s budget, but the position was eventually restored. For now, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare is serving as the acting chief.
And the search continues.
NEED TO KNOW
Rhode Map wants to hear from you. If you’ve got a scoop or a link to an interesting news story in Rhode Island, e-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
• Mayor Elorza is promising he won’t stand in the way of the state taking more control of Providence schools, but he still wants a seat at the table. Don’t miss my look at his vision for fixing the district.
• The University of Rhode Island is getting a $10 million gift from Mike and Beth Fascitelli to pay for lab and research equipment at the College of Engineering, as well as an endowed fund. URI also intends to ask the General Assembly to name the facility the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering.
• Scoop: A Democratic challenger is already lining up to run in a primary next year against veteran state Senator Harold Metts. Tiara Mack filed a notice of organization with the Board of Elections on Monday.
• US Rep. David Cicilline has joined a group of Congressmen calling on Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta to resign over his handling of Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 criminal case when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida.
• There are lots of reasons I prefer swimming pools to the ocean, but sharks are at the top of the list.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
• The Providence Board of Licenses meets today to consider whether to permanently close the Federal Hill nightclub after a fatal stabbing outside the establishment June 30. The Globe’s Amanda Milkovits will cover the hearing, so follow her on Twitter.
• Need something a little spookier? The folks behind the Providence Ghost Tour are leading haunted boat tours every Wednesday this summer.
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