By Elizabeth F. McNamara
The Town Council Monday night unanimously approved the hire of Patricia Sunderland as finance director. Sunderland, who will start April 29, has been serving the finance director of South Kingstown since 2013 and was finance director for North Kingstown before that.
The town’s former finance director, Linda Dykeman, resigned in November. Dykeman had been serving as the finance director for both the town and the schools. Last month, the Town Council and School Committee decided to decouple the finance position.
After Dykeman’s departure, in December, the town hired finance consultant Mike D’Amico to effectively serve in that capacity for both the town and the schools on an interim basis. According to Council President Mark Schwager, D’Amico will stay on through June, allowing him to work with Sunderland through the transition. Sunderland will also help the schools until they hire someone to serve as director of administration.
Sunderland, selected from a pool of seven candidates, will make $130,000 a year (Dykeman earned $135,000). She has worked as a municipal finance director for 12 years and in municipal accounting for 23.
Dykeman came in as finance director days after Gayle Corrigan, her business associate, was named town manager in July 2017, replacing Kristen Benoit (who has sued over her termination). Dykeman’s hire is the subject of an ongoing case before the Ethics Commission. Corrigan was fired by the new Town Council in December.
D’Amico, who has also been working with the schools and is part of the town’slabor contract negotiating team (all five municipal union contracts are up June 30), is being paid $125 an hour for his services, with a cap of $5,000 a week. According to acting Town Manager Joe Duarte, D’Amico has been paid $58,312 through March 13.