Corruption and Cronyism at the Central Landfill

It's little wonder, when you think about it, that operations at the Central Landfill has been run wastefully and with favoritism for a select inner few. Over time just about every state agency falls from grace...
For too long the Landfill was a backwater (no pun intended), secretive operation that was politely avoided. Rhode Islanders seem to have been more curious about the growing height of the place than about how it was being run. Lookout ran a newspaper column a few years ago based on an interview with Mike O'Connor, who had just recently taken over the top management job. At the time there was already a whiff that some things weren't done right and aboveboard at the Landfill, but the sheer level of cronyism, mismanagement and misuse of funds was still unknown. Now we know how bad things were. Congratulations to Mr. O'Connor and the Governor for exposing the shenanigans and cleaning up the place.

It's a sad outcome for A.Austin Ferland and John St. Saveur, two of the state's leading businessmen and civic leaders in years past. They failed in their public trust, much like the late Sheldon Sollosy in connection with the Beacon Mutual scandal and embarrassment. These powerful men, despite their years of honest service and hard work on the part of the RI business community, ended up abusing the trust placed in them.


  1. It boggles the mind that the news media in this state has never looked hard at the Landfill. In fact, the media rarely looks hard at anything: the lottery, the DOT, the utilites, to name a few. It seems that everywhere there's a state run monopoly, there's someone making a fast buck at the taxpayers' expense. I for one am not suprised by this corruption; I'm only saddened by how long it took to point a finger at it.

  2. That's why we need to maintain a vigorous local press to bring these things to light. It's certainly not going to come from the Attorney General's Office.


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