scott mackay

R.I.P. Elaine Hanlon

Jul 16, 2012

Elaine Hanlon of Providence, a dedicated veteran investigator for the Rhode Island Public Defender’s office, died at Rhode Island Hospital last week after suffering an apparent heart attack at a July Fourth picnic. She was 54.

Universally known as `Laney,’ Hanlon was known for compassion towards her impoverished clients and her tenacity in helping them obtain justice in the Rhode Island legal system.

Congress can easily help cash-strapped states collect millions in sales taxes from Internet sales. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains why action is needed to protect Main Street retailers.

The sun is high; your vacation is nigh. What better way to while away a splendid July afternoon in the Ocean State than a trip to the shore with that book you’ve been meaning to get to.

East Providence city government is on its way to solvency and the lessons are fairly simple: Once again, negotiation and conciliation works better than confrontation and litigation.

Under the arrangement forged by the state Budget Commission that was ushered in to scrutinize East Providence finances, the city’s largest creditor, Bradley Hospital, which provides special education services to the city, will receive all payments within 60 days. The hospital had been owed more than $4 million for services, which threatened to send the city into receivership.

A crucial aspect of the state’s new Open Meetings and Access to Public Records acts is whether the attorney general is ready to be vigilant in enforcing the amended provisions approved by the General Assembly.

The good news for open government advocates is that Atty. Gen. Peter Kilmartin has announced that he and his staff are holding a July 27th information seminar at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol to explain details of the new law, which is designed to strengthen Rhode Island’s open government laws, which have too often been ignored in the past.

Ferguson’s Triumph

Jun 28, 2012

Christine Ferguson is the one Rhode Islander who has been most vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the so-called individual mandate aspect of the Affordable Care Act that requires everyone to have health insurance coverage.

Ferguson, of Jamestown, was chosen last week by Governor Lincoln Chafee to head the state’s new Health Benefits Exchange that hopes to move Rhode Island toward universal health care coverage.

The hydrangeas are in full bloom, the sailboats bob on their harbor moorings and the red, white and blue stripe adorns Hope Street. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay takes a break from politics to celebrate our nation’s birth.

It’s the height of summer: long days of light framed by peach sunsets, high sun and a cobalt sky punctuated by whipped cream clouds.

The handsome Federal and Greek revival homes are dressed in American flags and more red white and blue bunting than Fenway Park on Opening Day.

Curt Schilling took to the sports talk airwaves last Thursday to once again blame Governor Lincoln Chafee for the collapse of his 38 Studios video game company.

As usual, the washed up Red Sox pitcher tried to deflect blame from his wrongheaded leadership of the nascent company and shift responsibility to Chafee and R.I. state government.

The Lifespan hospital chain, Rhode Island’s largest private employer, is probably going to announce Monday the appointment of a new CEO to succeed George Vecchione, who is retiring.  While the search process for a new CEO has been done quietly, with no media leaks, several sources in Rhode Island’s tight-knight medical care industry say Dr. Timothy Babineau, a surgeon who has been Rhode Island Hospital’s CEO since 2008, is the leading candidate. Babineau has impressed the state’s medical community in his tenure at RIH, the flagship of the Lifespan chain.

Governor Lincoln Chafee’s choice of Christine Ferguson to head Rhode Island’s new Health Benefits Exchange has drawn praise. But RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says Ferguson may face challenges she can’t control.

Governor Chafee didn’t have to do an intergalactic search to find the person best qualified to run the state’s latest effort to extend health insurance to all citizens. For once, the person best suited for the job is a Rhode Islander, Christy Ferguson of Jamestown.

There was a time when the managers of great American manufacturing companies loved their products, cared about their employees and customers and valued the communities in which they did business. Factories were run by people who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty working in the same space as blue-collar workers.

Former RI state police col. Brendan Doherty of   Cumberland , the GOP candidate for U.S. House in the 1st District, has been moving his feet lately. Besides picking up endorsements from some Democrats, including onetime Boston Mayor Ray Flynn (a PC basketball star), former Newport State Rep. Jimmy Mahoney and former RI State Rep. Joanne Giannini of Providence’s Mount Pleasant district, Doherty has been holding meet-and-greets and fund-raisers almost every evening.

The nursing school that was to be shared by the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College is on life support. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if this project became a victim of our state’s legendary turf battles.

When it was proposed two years ago, the plan to build a new $60 million nursing school in Providence’s Jewelry District was what politicians, business leaders and educators like to call a “win-win.’’

Inquiring minds in the state public defenders office and beyond are wondering just what kind of game Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, is playing with Governor Lincoln Chafee’s nomination of Mary S. McElroy to be the state’s chief public defender.

McElroy has stellar credentials and 20 years experience in the public defender’s office.  She would also be the first woman to hold the job.

House Speaker Gordon Fox, D-Providence and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport have both been largely silent on their roles in the doomed Curt Schilling-38 Studios video game deal.

But the two have combined to send out one of those frivolous State House `news’ releases honoring the 100th anniversary of Boston’s Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sawx, the team Schilling once pitched for.

The cliché that organized labor controls the General Assembly has become one of the biggest fallacies in Rhode Island politics. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay explains.

Conservative Republicans, some business and media leaders and more than a few Democrats these days say that Rhode Island’s economic troubles stem from organized labor’s political influence.  If only that were true. As George Nee, president of the state AFL-CIO laments, “we’ve taken a lot of bruises lately.’’