Monday evening, March 6, I watched the meeting of the North Smithfield Town Council as they discussed a variety of issues, including the Halliwell Committee, the police station, the need for an HR director and the hiring of a grant writer for the town.
John Beauregard introduced Lisa Andoscia, a former resident of North Smithfield, currently residing in North Providence. I watched the presentation by Ms. Andoscia. She seemingly has brought in significant monies to the towns which employ her and she has developed many relationships with our congressional delegations. She has a long history of working within Massachusetts and has counted as clients, Baystate Health and the Basketball Hall of Fame. While she has not presented her proposal officially, she did request a salary of $5,000 per month, which includes travel to meetings with congressional representatives in DC.
Ms. Andoscia is also employed by the towns of Smithfield, Lincoln, Cumberland and North Providence. According to The Valley Breeze, other towns have recently hired her. If Ms. Andoscia is currently receiving $5,000 per month from every town, city or organization that employs her, I would question the necessity of North Smithfield paying a salary of that magnitude per month. Every professional woman that I know engaged in grant writing. We served our organizations, developed relationships with our congressional delegations, including Patrick Kennedy, Jim Langevin, David Cicilline, Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed. We also received monies from The Rhode Island Foundation, The Champlain Foundation and The June Rockwell Levy Foundation. We learned grant writing by doing it.
The Town Council meeting also highlighted the success that the town planner and assistant planner have had securing funding. Obviously, they have the knowledge, skills and talent to do the very same type of work. Securing funding also requires, in-kind contributions, letter of support, memorandums of understanding, community buy-in and evidence of diversity and inclusion on town boards and committees. It must also include sustainability when funding is no longer received. Are we ready for the obligations required and do we demonstrate stability and responsibility to the funders?
There are many grant writers within the state of Rhode Island. Many of them have credibility. If we are going to hire one, I would suggest the formal process of posting an RFP, soliciting applications, interviewing selected candidates by committee and then making an offer, as is the traditional method of hiring.
Please, let’s stop putting the cart before the horse.