The Fall River Redevelopment Authority contract with their staffing agency, the Fall River Office of Economic Development, aka "FROED," aka "Jobs for Fall River," aka Ken Fiola, expired in May. At that time the RA opted to extend FROED's service by 90 days. That 90 days expired last week. This prompted me to search for whether the city/RA made a public request for proposals to fill the staffing position upon the termination of FROED's contract.
Consider this quote from RDA attorney, Peter Bogle, regarding FROED's past bids for the RA staffing contract "FROED was the only qualified respondent on proposals to staff the RA for past contracts. Its staff management includes accounting, clerical support, marketing and negotiating on behalf of the Redevelopment Authority." So where does the RA/city advertise this opening? I did not see an advertisement on the city website, the Central register, the Herald News....google...... A friend of mine was able to find an ad in a publication I had never heard of and that now escapes me.
If the RA truly wanted to replace FROED, they would have advertised the opening with more than a trivial amount of effort. Somehow, despite the clear lack of publicity for the opening, a competing bid was submitted against FROED. I have little detail on the submission but I do know the RA is voting on it Wednesday at 9:15am.
FROED is just plain terrible and I don't think any competing organization could do a worse job. However, realistically, is the RA ever going to replace FROED? The Mayor sits on FROED along with some highfalutin Fall River residents and business people who, while some may not live in Fall River, probably enjoy the perks of a FROED board of directors position (*read: loans): This is not easily let go.
Anyhooo, I urge anyone who can make it to the RA meeting on Wednesday at 9:15am (presumably at government center) to attend. Express your concern the FROED has 32 (founded in 1978) years to improve Fall River and has not. We can't afford to continue paying Ken Fiola $170,000 a year to loan our tax money to his board members, let buildings sit and rot, and give TIF agreements to chain doughnut stores and gas stations.