Council-Sanctioned Review of Licensing Operation Calls for Sweeping Changes

PROVIDENCE, R.I.- The Providence City Council today released a comprehensive review
of the Providence Board of Licenses conducted by former Attorney General Jeff Pine.
The report identifies systemic issues in the Board’s current operations and provides
recommendations to improve efficiencies, procedures, and accountability.

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The report was commissioned by the City Council to address growing concerns
regarding the Board’s ability to provide business owners and the public with
consistent licensing procedures that balance the City’s need for a healthy economy
and public safety. «The Board of Licenses is the place in local government where
quality of life and economic vibrancy intersect,» said Council President Luis
Aponte. «This report reinforces our message that the Providence business community
needs greater predictability and accessibility within the licensing process, and the
people of Providence need the Board to operate consistently and hold businesses
accountable when violations occur.»

«It is abundantly clear that at present the Board is not serving the citizens of
Providence at an acceptable or required standard,» said Pine. «It cannot be stressed
enough how important it is that the Board function and perform its duties at the
highest professional level, following its own rules consistently, removing politics
from the equation, creating a public-friendly environment, and holding accountable
those who violate any rules, regulations or laws.»

Among the report’s many recommendations are the development and implementation of
professional standards and guidelines, greater Board training and support, the
utilization of more efficient technology, and a new hearing location and schedule to
better accommodate business owners and members of the community in a more
professional and public-friendly environment.

«This initiative is part of the Council’s ongoing effort to bolster and grow the
City’s economy while protecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods,» said
Council Majority Whip Jo-Ann Ryan. «The Council also recently won support at the
state level to modernize liquor license classifications which provide businesses
with a predictable regulatory framework.»

The City Council will formally accept the report at the City Council meeting on
Thursday, September 15 and is expected to pass a resolution requesting
implementation from Mayor Elorza. Aponte is hopeful that these reforms will be
implemented soon.