NBC 10 I-Team: Fung blasts Raimondo over RI's juvenile jail
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung stood out in front of the state’s training school Thursday and blamed his opponent, Gov. Gina Raimondo, for everything from a leaky roof, to poor security, and out of work staff.
“Costs are out of control, staff morale is in the dirt, and rehab needs are not being met,” said Fung.
In May 2017, four training school staffers were assaulted during a riot. Rhode Island State Police stepped in for a cooling off period after the attacks and later for a command staff review. State police told NBC 10 they never took over training school operations.
As governor, Fung said he would turn the place around, targeting vocation rehab training, security and safety, and increase opioid intervention. Standing by the mayor’s side, was the former training school superintendent, Joseph Cardin.
“What transpired at the Rhode Island training school was outrageous and avoidable,” said Cardin.
Now a Fung supporter and retired, Cardin spent two years on paid leave earning a $147,000 a year salary. The NBC 10 I-Team highlighted Cardin’s paid leave in 2017, along with other state employees out on long term leave earning large salaries.
He said he never did anything wrong.
“I was targeted by the Raimondo administration for nothing more than I would identify or coin political retaliation,” said Cardin.
The cost to Rhode Island taxpayers for Cardin’s paid leave was approximately $300,000.
Raimondo called Fung’s press conference nothing but a political attack, weeks before the election, and Cardin a disgruntled employee.
“I inherited a child welfare system in crisis and we had to bring about change,” said Raimondo, who touted a new superintendent at the training school and new director at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. “Children in state care are absolutely safer and better cared for today than when I started.”
The governor’s senior campaign advisor took criticism of Fung a step further, and said the mayor is desperate to deflect attention from his record, when state police took over the Cranston Police Department.
“Mayor Fung’s police scandals likely cost taxpayers between $5 million and $8 million,” said Mike Raia.
When asked why it would take two years to investigate Cardin, the governor said her administration followed state personnel rules.
“Frankly, they frustrate me, too,” she said.
The training school budget is approximately $24 million. Fung said in 2015, 470 juveniles were housed in the training school, putting that cost above $50,000 for each detainee.