Let’s Move Forward on Legislative Staff Issues

Let's Move Forward on Legislative Staff Issues

Organizing the Rhode Island General Assembly to be more transparent: a plan.

In recent weeks there has been an uproar over raises for staff of the Rhode Island General Assembly. Handling personnel of the legislative branch has been an issue for decades in Rhode Island, and was part of a focus of commissions in both the 1980s and 1990s. As a result of the work of those commissions we have seen drastic reforms of other parts of the General Assembly, including the elimination of legislative pensions, and a downsizing in the number of lawmakers. It’s time to finish the work by focusing on legislative personnel.

Common Cause, along with the coalition Citizens for an Accountable Legislature, has proposed a possible solution. We propose the creation of a position classification plan by a joint commission of the General Assembly. Such a plan would help organize the staff in a transparent and accountable manner by requiring job descriptions, pay scales, and an organizational hierarchy. Using such a plan to manage its employees will allow the General Assembly to create a career ladder for all legislative employees.