§ 45-9-3 Appointment and duties of fiscal overseer. (a) Upon joint request by a city's or town's elected chief executive officer and city or town council, which request is approved by the division of municipal finance and the auditor general, or in absence of such a request, in the event that the director of revenue, in consultation with the auditor general, makes any two (2) or more of the findings set forth in subsection (b), the director of revenue may appoint a fiscal overseer for the city or town to assess the ability of the city or town government to manage the city's or town's fiscal challenges.
(b) The director of revenue may appoint a fiscal overseer if the director finds in his or her sole discretion that any two (2) of the following events have occurred which are of such a magnitude that they threaten the fiscal well-being of the city or town, diminishing the city or town's ability to provide for the public safety or welfare of the citizens of the city or town:
(1) The city or town projects a deficit in the municipal budget in the current fiscal year and again in the upcoming fiscal year;
(2) The city or town has not filed its audits with the auditor general by the deadlines required by law for two (2) successive fiscal years (not including extensions authorized by the auditor general);
(3) The city or town has been downgraded by one of the nationally recognized statistical rating organizations;
(4) The city or town is otherwise unable to obtain access to credit markets on reasonable terms in the sole judgment of the director of revenue.
(5) The city or town does not promptly respond to requests made by the director of revenue, or the auditor general, or the chairpersons of the house and/or senate finance committees for financial information and operating data necessary to assess the fiscal condition of the city or town in the sole judgment of the director of revenue.
(c) The director of revenue may also appoint a fiscal overseer if a city or town fails to comply with the requirements of §§ 45-12-22.1 45-12-22.5 of the general laws.
(d) The fiscal overseer shall without limitation:
(1) Recommend to the elected chief executive officer, city or town council and school committee sound fiscal policies for implementation;
(2) Supervise all financial services and activities;
(3) Advise the assessors, director of finance, city or town treasurer, purchasing agent and employees performing similar duties but with different titles;
(4) Provide assistance in all matters related to municipal financial affairs;
(5) Assist in development and preparation of the municipal budget, all department budgets and spending plans;
(6) Review all proposed contracts and obligations;
(7) Monitor the expenditures of all funds;
(8) Approve the annual or supplemental municipal budgets of the city or town and all of its departments; and
(9) Report monthly to the director of revenue, the auditor general, the governor and the chairpersons of the house finance and senate finance committees on the progress made towards reducing the municipality's deficit and otherwise attaining fiscal stability.
(e) All department budgets and requests for municipal budget transfers shall be submitted to the fiscal overseer for review and approval.
(f) The city or town shall annually appropriate amounts sufficient for the proper administration of the fiscal overseer and staff, as determined in writing by the division of municipal finance. If the city or town fails to appropriate such amounts, the division of municipal finance shall direct the general treasurer to deduct the necessary funds from the city's or town's distribution of state aid and shall expend those funds directly for the benefit of the fiscal overseer and staff.
(g) Within one hundred twenty (120) days of being appointed
by the director of revenue, the fiscal overseer shall develop a three (3)-year
operating and capital financial plan to achieve fiscal stability in the city or
town. The plan shall include a preliminary analysis of the city's or town's
financial situation and the fiscal overseer's initial recommendations to
immediately begin to address the city's or town's operating and structural
deficits. The fiscal overseer shall have the power to compel operational,
performance or forensic audits, or any other similar assessments. The fiscal
overseer shall have the power, at the expense of the city or town, to employ,
retain, supervise such managerial, professional and clerical staff as are
necessary to carry out the responsibility of fiscal overseer, subject to the
approval of the division of municipal finance; provided, however, that the
fiscal overseer shall not be subject to chapter 37-2 or chapter 45-55 of the
general laws in employing such staff.
(P.L. 1993, ch. 242, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 180, § 141; P.L. 2005, ch. 241, § 2; P.L. 2005, ch. 319, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 61; P.L. 2008, ch. 98, § 56; P.L. 2008, ch. 145, § 56; P.L. 2010, ch. 24, § 1; P.L. 2010, ch. 27, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 363, § 3.)