Lawyers, accountants and others involved with the more than 20 quasi-state entities here in Rhode Island should be aware that the State Department of Administration Bureau of Audits has begun preparing for the January 1, 2015 implementation of the “Quasi-Public Corporations Accountability and Transparency Act, ” passed by the General Assembly in the last legislative session. The Act requires the boards that govern the quasi-state entities to adopt a mission statement, a code of ethics, and policies and procedures covering virtually all aspects of operations, including internal accounting and administrative controls, as well as policies on travel, credit card use, personnel policies (including “hiring, dismissing, promoting, and compensating” employees of the quasi-public entity), marketing expenses, and lobbying expenses. Each board must also establish a committee to address executive compensation, conduct salary studies, negotiate the CEO’s contract , and evaluate the chief executive officer’s job performance. Finally, every “quasi” must have a number of plans posted on its website, including a capital improvement plan, an operating budget, and a strategic plan.
Of interest in the “legislative findings” section of the new law is the finding that the quasi-publics “perform essential government functions.” This finding could have significance for the quasi-public entities in matters other than accountability and transparency.
The Bureau of Audits held an initial “kick-off” meeting recently to discuss the logistics of bringing all of the quasi-state entities into compliance with the new law. For more information on the law and the logistics of implementation, please contact Lori Caron Silveira at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions stated herein do not constitute legal advice.