Convention Center Authority Awards Itself Bonuses

Remember yesterday when I suggested donating to Common Cause RI so they could continue keeping an eye on our elected and non-elected officials? This is exactly what I was talking about! Katherine Gregg writes in today’s Providence Journal “Convention Center Authority bonuses questioned” that the CCA may have violated the Open Meetings Act. And I don’t care how politically engaged you are — you probably aren’t checking for violations of the Open Meetings Act. But Common Cause RI executive director John Marion is.

“The Convention Center Authority thumbed its nose at the public when it awarded retention bonuses to select employees in late 2021,” Marion told The Journal after the publication of a story about the bonuses ranging from $8,290 to $39,885 that were given to top executives of ASM Global, the private management company hired by the authority to run the Rhode Island Convention Center and the the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

For one thing, Marion takes issue with the term “retention bonus” as it was unlikely that anyone was considering leaving; more importantly, it seems that the topic of the bonuses had not been properly announced.

Beyond that, Marion said, the agenda for the Dec. 21, 2021, meeting where McConaghy had said the vote on the bonuses took place made no mention of the potential discussion and vote.

“Furthermore, the minutes of the meeting where the vote occurred, which are required by law to be published within 35 days, are not publicly available more than three months later,” Marion said.

The entire article makes for interesting reading. Fun fact: The chairman of the authority board is Bernard Buonanno, father of gubernatorial candidate Helena Buonanno Foulkes. Please . . . like her ties with CVS weren’t troubling enough.

This is hardly the first complaint about the CCA. See Gregg’s Watchdog Report from 2020.

(The authority oversees the Rhode Island Convention Center, The Dunk, and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium.)

Go here to Donate to Common Cause RI. Big thanks to John Marion and Katherine Gregg for keeping an eye on things.


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