PAWTUCKET â€” As 2011 winds down, more than a dozen municipal employees have decided to retire, including several who occupy key positions in Pawtucket City Hall.
Longtime Tax Assessor David Quinn just announced his retirement on Thursday, although he will be stepping into the same role in the city of Providence. He told the Times that he is leaving to take the Tax Assessor's job at Providence City Hall under Mayor Angel Taveras that recently became available. He added that it was â€śtoo good of an opportunity to turn down.â€ť
Quinn said he begins his job in Providence on Jan. 17, the day after Martin Luther King Day is observed. While his last official day in Pawtucket is Dec. 31, he said he has agreed to stay around for a couple of additional weeks in January to help with the property revaluation efforts that are underway in the office.
Quinn's departure at the end of the year follows close on the heels of Finance Director Ronald Wunschel, Tax Collector Cheryl DiGiuseppe, Personnel Director Angel Garcia, and Personnel Assistant Barbara Sladen. It also means the loss of a substantial amount of experience, as Quinn is leaving with over 23 years at his post, DiGiuseppe with 31 years, and Sladen with 37 years. Wunschel had spent 14 years in the city's top finance job while Garcia has headed up the Personnel Department for 12 years.
According to city officials, a total of 13 employees in various municipal capacities have submitted their retirement paperwork, which will mean a lot of interviewing and hiring of replacements in 2012. So far, just Wunschel's job has been filled with Mayor Donald Grebien's appointment this week of Joanna L'Heureux as the new finance director.
How much the recent pension reform changes to the Municipal Employees Retirement Systemâ€”which, for some of these employees, includes the last chance to receive a three percent cost of living (COLA) increase before a longer waiting period is involved--plays in to the retirement exodus is unclear.
Wunschel told the Times that he chose to leave in order to spend more time with his family, and Quinn is leaving for a new job, while Garcia, Sladen and DiGiuseppe could not be reached for comment.