Barro: Time to abolish Central Falls and other troubled citiesJune 1st, 2012 at 11:24 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
It’s no secret that the finances of Central Falls and other troubled Rhode Island cities have been woefully mismanaged over the years. With state leaders continuing to wrestle with how to fix them – and desperate to avoid more bailouts and interventions – it may be time to abolish these governmental units altogether, Josh Barro writes for Bloomberg View:
When a headline-grabbing event occurs, such as the exposure of Bell’s outrageous salaries or the exhaustion of the Central Falls pension fund, these cities get state-level attention and supervision. But that typically comes only after corrupt officials have had years to mismanage and exploit their cities.
The best way to protect residents of these impoverished places is to end the jurisdictions in their current form, reconstituting them in such a way that officials are more likely to be held accountable. Three such options are dissolution, merger and state takeover.
Meanwhile, Governor Chafee’s office just announced that Robert Flanders is out as Central Falls’ receiver after shepherding the community through Chapter 9; John F. McJennett III, who was chairman of DEPCO, will take over. Last night, legislative leaders signaled they will pony up $2.6 million to pay for a settlement with Central Falls’ retirees to restore part of their pension payments, which should close out the bankruptcy.