Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena Jr. has hired a former TV news reporter to fill a new position in his office.
The position —Deputy Chief-of-Staff — includes an $80,000 annual salary.
“Town Services and information to residents are lagging,” Polisena said via email Tuesday. “In an effort to increase transparency and optimize services and information she will be performing digital media coordination, purchasing, press communications, records retention compliance, grant writing, constituent services, electronic sign management, personnel reorganization, event coordination, automated notification management and claims.”
Dominique Turner, a former ABC6 news reporter, announced her new job on Twitter last week.
“#BreakingNews: I’ve left the business!” Turner wrote on Feb. 7. “So thankful for my experience in the Providence news market. With that being said, I’m now working as Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor @JosephPolisena in @johnstonri.”
Polisena’s executive office is now up and running. He retained his father’s Chief-of-Staff, Doug Jeffrey. According to Polisena, Jeffrey’s position is part-time and pays a $45,000 annual salary.
The full-time Deputy Chief-of-Staff’s salary will be “budgeted through unfilled vacancies, as we are having the same problems of finding workers as the private sector,” Polisena explained.
The mayor’s office also employs a full-time secretary. That position pays $72,000 annually. The mayor’s salary is $75,000.
“ I am confident our team of three can manage 30,000 residents,” Polisena said.
Johnston Town Council President Robert V. Russo said he has been introduced to Turner.
“I met the Deputy Chief of staff last week and she seems to be a very pleasant person,” Russo said via email. “I think she will be using her experience as a former reporter for Channel 6 to assist in media relations as well as assisting with all town departments.”
Russo had no objections to the hiring or salary.
“Based on her experience I think her salary is fair and commensurate with people of her background and knowledge (possibly even lower than the market),” Russo wrote. “I do not believe the position is newly created. The title may sound new but going back to the Perotta Administration and even Polisena 1 there have at times been two people conducting similar duties as a Chief of staff and deputy even though not particularly titled in that manner.”
Town Council approves the budget, but not each executive office hire.
“As to budgeting – the Administration is given a budget and they determine how to expend the monies within their annual allotment,” Russo explained. “The council only appropriates we do not say where the money can be spent once allocated.”