Providence, RI – A new era in Providence politics began Monday with the inauguration of David Cicilline as the mayor of Providence.
As snowflakes fell on the newly renovated Kennedy Plaza, a sense of festive anticipation prevailed. Nearly one thousand peopled gathered there to watch the inauguration.
Former Mayor Buddy Cianci was not mentioned by name on the inauguration ceremonies. But his administration cast a long shadow over the Cicilline agenda.
We are all painfully aware of the violations of the public trust that have occurred in City Hall, the ongoing impact of a legacy of corruption over the past three decades, the culture of self-service, insider dealing, and arrogance established at the very top has made us cynical about the capacity of city government to behave ethically, Cicilline said.
The new mayor asked the public not to condemn all city workers because of the criminal acts of a few. He stressed creating new ethical standards and rules that will root out corruption. Cicilline also promised to establish an office of integrity that would hold department heads accountable for the actions of subordinates.
Details the kinds of relationships that employees can have with people who do business witht eh city that requires people to disclose if they have financial interest in projects that are going on in this city. Some of it is very comprehensive about identifying potential areas of conflicts, Cicilline said.
Observers cautioned that Cicilline has a difficult job ahead.
It's going to really have to take all people to come to the table labor, management, the state of Rhode Island, the federal government and participate in what will be the r e covery of the city of Providence. If we can make movment in four years, I think the citizens of Providence will at least be happy that the city is going in the right direction, said State Representative Steven Costatino.
Cicilline says he will focus on city finances and the police department initially. He promised to name a permanent police chief within two weeks.
I have a very steep commitment to the establishment of community policing in this city. That's really more about getting police officers into the neighborhoods of the city than it is anything else, Cicilline said, It's about reconnecting the public and the police and rebuilding a sense of trust between the two.