Roberts Attacks Governor on Lucas Contract

Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts has issued an unusually strong statement condemning the Carcieri administration for its settlement with The Lucas Group, a consultant that helped the state obtain a waiver from federal requirements on how it spends millions in Medicaid dollars.

Administration officials, under pressure from ProJo State House reporter Kathy Gregg, maintained for months that Lucas was providing voluntary help, but released a statement Friday on a $370,000 settlement with the firm, which has ties to Carcieiri's recently confirmed chief of health and human services.

Carcieri spokeswoman Amy Kempe maintained that the work was voluntary, until the settlement came to pass, because there was never any contract.

Roberts, who is known for her expertise on health care, is gearing up for a gubernatorial run and has been attempting to build a bridge between her health care expertise and other issues of concern. A few weeks back, she landed on the front page of the ProJo with an attack on proposed health insurance premium hikes and warnings about how they might affect small business and, by extension, the economy. This latest statement builds a bridge between health care and government transparency:

I am gravely concerned at the actions of the Governor and the Department of Human Services that resulted in a no-bid contract for a personal friend of Secretary Alexander. In these times of budget crisis, the need for transparency is paramount to ensure that tax dollars are being used effectively and according to accepted standards.

I am equally dismayed that the public has been misled about the involvement of the Lucas Group in an exceedingly important negotiation process that affects nearly 1/3 of our state's budget and close to 200,000 Rhode Islanders.

I call on the Attorney General to begin an immediate investigation to determine if this case constitutes a violation of state laws around purchasing and transparency.

It is essential to restore confidence in Rhode Islands government Conducting business in this manner erodes Rhode Islanders confidence in their state government. Circumventing procurement rules, bypassing contract procedures, misleading the public and employing cronyism at any level is unacceptable, and undermines the publics confidence in government, especially at this crucial time.


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