Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis interviewed only one person for the position as his $43,321-a-year executive assistant. That must have been one heck of an interview. Of course Eleuterio Patriarca had a great reference — his brother-in-law John Fleming, Ralph Mollis’s chief of staff. This affront comes hard on the heels of the still-to-be-resolved Ruggerio/Iannazzi hiring scandal. Not only are state budgets being cut to the bone, but many unemployed Rhode Islanders would have liked a shot at these positions. Beyond that, Patriarca’s employment history was appalling.
In July 2007, Patriarca had been forced to resign from his position with the Town of North Providence for filling up his personal vehicle at the town fueling station. A year earlier he had been forced to resign from Twin River for an incident involving a missing $100. Yeah, this is just who we want handling our elections — somebody unafraid to play fast and loose with a casino. And so Patriarca has been asked to resign once again — hat trick! Unfortunately, we’re still stuck with Ralphie.
There is no possible explanation of this hiring that doesn’t at least bring into question Mollis’s judgment and character. Happily this situation did not go undetected. Good work by Katherine Gregg at the Providence Journal. More proof that a healthy democracy depends on the kind of in-depth investigative journalism that newspapers perform.