April 28, 2011

A Rhode Island Story

Justin Katz

Ed Achorn was intrigued enough by (as his title puts it) "The 25-year-old high school grad with the $88,112 job" to have asked around for the fuller story surrounding Stephen Iannazzi, newly appointed "special assistant" to RI Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio. His report is characterized, most significantly, by the closed doors and unreturned calls and emails with which he's been greeted, but Achorn's found enough to prove the Iannazzi family's facility working the RI system:

Ann Marie Iannazzi, Stephen's mother, earns an annual salary of $69,933 working for Providence as "employability chief" at Workforce Solutions of Providence/Cranston, according to Margaret Wingate, deputy director of human resources at City Hall. His sister, Andrea Iannazzi, is chairman of the Cranston School Committee and a lawyer in the state Family Court, earning an annual salary there of $71,812, according to Craig Berke, the judiciary's director of communications. His uncle, Joseph Baxter Jr., is state courts administrator (he did not hire Andrea). Andrea and Stephen are listed as members of the "host committee" for a fundraiser for Angel Taveras, now Providence mayor.

Stephen's Facebook page notes attendance at Rhode Island College for the five years ending in 2009, although he never completed his intended degree in Labor Studies. He did, however, receive a scholarship from the Institute for Labor Studies, on whose board his father sits. While trying to track down details of the scholarship (unsuccessfully), Achorn found himself conversing with Institute employee Caroline Bernal, newly minted member of Governor Chafee's Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education.

And so it goes...

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Part of me wants to join Rhode Island's clan of insiders, and part of me wants to run screaming from this place.

I don't mind if these folks have the jobs they do because they're qualified, but it sure would be nice if the state had to prove due-diligence when hiring.

It's terribly easy to have a name brought to 'the top of the list' or a paper 'lost' here, if you know the right people.

This is a case where it might be wise to bring in an outside vendor to handle searches for jobs, and erect a BIG firewall around them to keep anything nefarious from happening.

Posted by: mangeek at April 28, 2011 10:10 AM

I know that this may shock the Rhode Island lifers here, but patronage, nepotism, and corruption are not the norm for most state governments in this country. In other states, interviewers actually *read* things like resumes, writing samples, transcripts, etc. Sometimes they even conduct substantive interviews and take notes. In states other than Rhode Island, "contributions" generally means contributions to society or scholarly works, not monetary contributions to Democratic political candidates.

Let's see how our resident public union advocates feel about this incestuous organized labor hiring spree. On the one hand, many of them have opined that tying education-based qualifications to compensation is "elitist." But on the other hand, they feel that nobody under 30 has anything meaningful to contribute. What do they make of Iannazzi, I wonder, who is both young and lacking in formal education? Maybe he's "well liked" up at the statehouse, as Willy Loman would say.

Posted by: Dan at April 28, 2011 10:30 AM

Mangeek - the decision of whether to get involved in Rhode Island government is much like the decision of whether to join the mob.

Once you're in, you can never leave.

You will be routinely ordered to do things that shock your conscience.

And the moment you're worth more "dead" than alive to the bosses in charge, you will be served up on a silver platter to the media and the many, many enemies you've accrued along the way.

Posted by: Dan at April 28, 2011 10:40 AM

RI is becoming like a 3rd world country. Witness Mexico and the countries in Africa. Corruption has stopped and retarded growth.People flee. The Ruling class rules and you get places by turning a blind eye.Unqualified people rise and qualified people fall to the bottom unless they become one of the gang. The RI gang is destroying the state. Does anyone have the guts to stop them. Full disclosure....I fled in 1979. It's a good thing I did.

Posted by: ANTHONY at April 28, 2011 11:57 AM
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