By Dan McGowan
The sparring ahead of the 2014 governor’s race has begun.
A day after Rhode Island Public Radio reported that likely gubernatorial candidate General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is bringing in veteran political operative Andrew Roos as her chief of staff, Moderate Party Chairman Ken Block accused Raimondo of hiring a campaign manager on the state’s dime.
“If this person has no relevant experience for running the treasurer’s office and is there mainly as a campaign manager then that person’s salary should not be at taxpayer expense,” Block, a potential candidate for governor himself, told WPRI.com.
Roos, who managed Myrth York’s unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2002, is leaving a Google’s elections and issue advocacy division in Washington D.C. to join Raimondo’s staff. Joseph Pratt, Raimondo’s current chief of staff, has been moved to deputy treasurer/chief of administration.
But Block said campaign managers should be paid out of campaign finance accounts.
“It would be absurd for taxpayers to have to pay a large salary for a campaign operative with no relevant executive experience for one of our statewide elected officials,” Block said. “Last I knew the treasurer had plenty of campaign cash to pay for these services.”
Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox did not respond directly to Block’s comments, but said the treasurer is ”committed to having the strongest, most diverse team possible to help deliver results for Rhode Islanders.”
Although she has deflected questions about her political future, Raimondo has established herself as the early favorite in the governor’s race, ahead of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and current Gov. Lincoln Chafee. The Democrat had more than $1.3 million in her campaign account as of Dec. 31, more than Chafee, Taveras and Block combined.