Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Johanna Harris: Did Providence inspectors really inspect?

Providence Journal Opinion
By Johanna Harris
Posted Mar. 16, 2016 at 2:01 AM

Johanna Harris, a lawyer, is a commissioner of the Providence Board of Licenses and blogs at

If the Elorza administration is serious about saving money, then it should start with the two civilian inspectors who work for the Providence Board of Licenses. The documentation of their work is so flimsy and implausible that there is a serious question as to whether they actually conducted the vast majority of inspections that they logged.

During the 22-month period from Jan. 1, 2014 through Nov. 1, 2015, according to their activity logs, the two inspectors reported over 2,000 taxi driver inspections and 2,000 peddler inspections. Yet during the past two months, the board discovered two unlicensed establishments within the scope of the inspectors’ responsibilities. One had remained unlicensed for over four years, while the other had had no license for at least a year. The combined compensation of the two civilian inspectors, including wages and fringe benefits, is $105,000 annually...

As of mid-January of this year, the city’s database showed 58 licensed taxi drivers. Of the 2,201 taxi driver inspections reported by the two inspectors during the 22-month period, the logs show that 1,819 were reported as duly licensed while 382 were reported as violations. That means each duly licensed taxi driver was purportedly inspected an average of 31 times. There are no records of the names, license plates or taxi companies of the supposed violators...

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