Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 09-11-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 NORTH PROVIDENCE PUBLIC SAFETY COMPLEX SEPTEMBER 11-17, 2019 | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION Officials avoid PR disaster, nix $47,000 table NORTH PROVIDENCE – Chief David Tikoian and Mayor Charles Lombardi know all too well how bad it would have been for the town if an incredibly expensive table had made its way into the new North Providence Public Safety Complex. Tikoian said as part of his review of all planned expenditures after becoming chief in 2017, he wanted to take a closer look at $500,000 budgeted for furniture because the figure seemed high. Within that shopping list, he came across an eye-popping figure of $47,000 for a new solid wood executive confer- ence room table. "It reminded me of the $9,000 toilet seat at the Pentagon," he said, referencing the embarrassment the U.S. Military faced last year with its specialized toilet covers. "When I inquired 'why so much,' the architect informed me these pieces were solid wood," the chief said. "Solid wood was not neces- sary, and I opted for a steel con- struction with a laminate exterior at a substantial savings." The conference room table the complex ended up with was lami- nate, at a much more affordable $2,800. It is functional and still fits the décor, said the chief, who in many cases was able to repurpose furniture from the old safety com- plex rather than purchasing new items. The architect had the original conference room table configured in a U-shaped design with seating for 25. "I opted for a traditional style conference room table, where meeting attendees could sit around and seating for 14, which is more than adequate," said Tikoian. "From my perspective, we needed furniture that was practical, not fancy." Tikoian said he was unsure who selected the original furniture style, manufacturer and design. He was advised to budget $500,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment, and architect RGB took care of the specifications for the furniture, which was done by Office Direct. The final furniture budget ended up a little more than half of an original furniture bid of $440,000. Several other items, including com- mand staff desks and courtroom tables, had been "extremely expen- sive" previously. Mayor Charles Lombardi said Tikoian and he are kindred spirits when it comes to doing more with less. When he and the chief came across the $47,000 table, both knew this couldn't happen, he said, and he immediately wanted to vomit. "You get that kind of money you can get very foolish with the spend- ing," he said. "Can you imagine the negativism that we would have had to address with a $47,000 table?" The mentality with projects that aren't financed by local taxpay- ers is sometimes that this is free money, so get the best of the best, said Lombardi, but "the chief has done a great job cutting down spending in all aspects of the proj- ect. Hopefully the people of town will enjoy the final results." Though the furniture plans were designed before Tikoian became chief in 2017, he said the building is under his watch and "I want to do the best job I can" at finding savings. He didn't give an exact fig- ure for how much he saved through changes, but a few of the numbers add up to millions of dollars. The chief eliminated a third garage bay (to be used for storage) that would have cost more than $100,000. He eliminated a wall that would have created a divider in the municipal court space for a sepa- rate community area, for more than $100,000 more in savings. Why, he said, not just create a schedule for using the existing space since it's only used twice each month for court. He eliminated covered walkways and shortened a fence along the side of the property after discover- ing that the water supply property next door already had a fence along the dividing line. The chief also turned a mail room, which he said the depart- ment didn't need, into an office for a law enforcement advocate to have a private space to talk to vic- tims of domestic violence. "Wherever I could find efficien- cy, I did," he said. There are also some smaller items that add character while also achieving savings. Among them is a white oak lecturn, completed for $55 by the shop students at North Providence High School. By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY CHARLES LAWRENCE North Providence Police Chief DAVID TIKOIAN shows off the new $2,800 conference room table in the North Providence Public Safety Complex. Original plans for the conference room included a $47,000 solid wood executive conference room table, which Tikoian nixed. Savings achieved throughout safety complex Serving Our Community The Law Office of Kenneth J. Amoriggi 984 Charles Street, North Providence, RI 401-722-3777 www.amoriggilaw.com Congratulations and Best Wishes on your New Home to all of our hard-working Public Safety personnel!

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