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Raimondo approves 14 new RIDOT jobs

Gov. Raimondo approves 14 new RIDOT jobs
Gov. Raimondo approves 14 new RIDOT jobs
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Gov. Gina Raimondo has approved 12 new Rhode Island Department of Transportation positions and the reclassification of another two jobs with salaries that range from $82,378 to $155,564.

Raimondo told NBC 10 News that it's part of a long term plan.

"A year ago, I put forth a 10 year plan for transportation infrastructure which included a reorganization of the department," said Raimndo. "The department wasn't functioning. We are transforming DOT to make it more accountable (and) save taxpayers money. You need the team to do that and that's what we are doing."

The approval comes after Department of Administration Director Michael DiBiase signed a recommendation letter on Feb. 19 for approval of the positions. That recommendation came after two sparsely attended public hearings for comment were held earlier that morning.

Now that the positions are approved, the new job classifications will be implemented and job applications will be accepted, according to the DOA.

"The goal is to initiate recruitment as soon as possible," RIDOT spokesperson Charles St. Martin told NBC 10 after the hearings. "We are following this process and looking forward to getting these positions filled to enable us to reorganize the department."

The Department of Administration held the hearings to get comment on the job classifications and pay plans designed to authorize the 14 positions at RIDOT. The transportation organization could not hire the new employees without going through the public hearing process. While there weren't any comments or questions from the public during the first public hearing, which was over in 4 minutes, there were a few questions about five of the 8 jobs, during the second hearing.

Russell Holt, a RIDOT employee who attended the hearing as a private citizen, said he was excited about jobs but had a few questions for the Department of Administration, which held the public hearings but had several questions.

Holt asked about five of the eight positions including the Administrator, Office of Transit, New Starts, Operations and Transportation position, a new, non-union job with a salary range of $126,648 - $140,920.

"In the iIlustrative examples of work performed for this position, it has have several passages referring to things that to my knowledge fall under the jurisdiction of either the MBTA or RIPTA today," Holt said.

"I'm not aware that DOT has and organizational chart yet to show how some of the job description would be carried out or even could be carried out," he told Acting State Personnel Administrator Melanie Marcaccio. "I'm just concerned that DOT may not have jurisdiction."

DOA spokesperson Brenna McCabe said RIDOT would be tasked with following up with Holt to answer his questions, but no further public hearings on the job classifications would be held.

But Raimondo told NBC 10, that taxpayers deserve accountability, project management, high performance and transparency.

"I'm making changes to make sure we do that at the Department of Transportation. These changes are exactly that."

The new jobs are all non-union, which should allow Raimondo to more effectively insure accountability.

(NBC 10's Bill Rappleye contributed to this report.)

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