Public finance veteran Peter Marino will serve as the first director of Rhode Island’s new Office of Management and Budget, Gov. Lincoln Chafee announced Wednesday.
Chafee called for the creation of such an office in his fiscal 2013 budget proposal. The new office will include the current budget office within the Department of Administration.
According to Chafee, the goal of the new office is to establish a comprehensive public finance and management system for Rhode Island that manages a data-driven budget process, monitors performance, and maximizes the application for and use of federal grants.
“He will bring a broad range of knowledge and expertise to this position,” Chafee said of Marino.
Marino most recently was the fiscal advisor to the Rhode Island Senate, where he was responsible for the staffing, supervision and overall operation of its fiscal advisory office. He also serves as an adjunct professor of public policy at Brown University’s Taubman Center for Public Policy.
“We will also look beyond today’s and tomorrow’s problems to make sure that the state is investing its resources wisely in future years,” Marino said.
Previously, Marino was an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University.
An immediate priority for OMB will be the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority’s projected $8 million deficit for fiscal 2013. Appearing Monday at a RIPTA board meeting, Chafee said the new office would study transportation programs administered by state agencies and quasi-public entities.
“The first step is addressing the immediate financial challenges at RIPTA, but beyond that we need a long-term transportation strategy that is fiscally responsible, forward-looking and plans for the future,” Chafee said.
RIPTA board chairman and Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian welcomed the move.
Meanwhile, more unwelcome economic development news surfaced in the Ocean State this week.
The state government’s Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. acknowledged that beginning in February, EDC subsidiary Industrial-Recreational Building Authority has been making payments against a $5 million loan guarantee for construction company Capco Steel LLC. Webster Bank provided the loan.
The EDC is already under fire for having guaranteed through the state’s moral obligation a $75 million loan package to video game company 38 Studios LLC. That company, owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in Wilmington, Del.
According to an EDC statement, the outstanding IRBA guarantee as of June 30 is $4.6 million.
“IRBA has been working diligently with Capco and Webster to find solutions to navigate through the downturn in the construction industry, including a plan to keep the company operating at a much smaller level,” EDC said in a statement. “The state is working to ensure that the employees are provided with assistance during this challenging time and taxpayers are protected by recouping value against the building and equipment, which IRBA has a secured first position.”
Moody’s Investors Service rates Rhode Island’s general obligation bonds Aa2, while Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s each assign a AA.