PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Embattled Providence DPW official David Pontarelli's city employment began in December 2002 when he was hired as a driver making $215 a week, according to city records and archival Providence Journal stories reviewed by Target 12.
On Jan. 6, 2003, the day former Mayor David Cicilline was inaugurated, Pontarelli was given a job in the mayor's office of neighborhood services, which helps residents navigate city services and programs. He stayed in that job for three and a half years.
In June 2006, Pontarelli became an assistant to the mayor's new chief of staff and former campaign manager, Christopher Bizzacco, who now works as a senior policy advisor in Cicilline's congressional office. Pontarelli changed jobs again in May 2007 when the Department of Public Works hired him as its fiscal advisor, with responsibility for monitoring and documenting its spending and budget projections.
Pontarelli was still working as the fiscal advisor two weeks ago when he was suspended without pay, just days after the city learned about an undercover Target 12 investigation that showed Pontarelli spending a significant amount of time away from his job and using city equipment at a popular downtown nightclub where he manages events.
"The conduct you are describing is outrageous," Cicilline spokeswoman Nicole Kayner told Target 12 this week. "Mayor Taveras is absolutely correct in proceeding to terminate this employee, and if this conduct had occurred while Congressman Cicilline was mayor and had been brought to his attention or to the attention of members of his administration, he would have done the same thing."
Pontarelli, who is awaiting the outcome of an internal investigation, is earning a nearly $60,000 salary, plus $6,653 in medical benefits, almost $2,600 in overtime and a longevity payment of close to $2,400 this fiscal year. As of this week he's also contributed $43,624 toward his city pension; he'll become eligible to receive for it if he reaches his 10th anniversary as a city employee on Dec. 6 of this year.
In addition, Pontarelli is listed as the manager of a company called IntenCity Media LLC that was formed in October 2010 as a "media and marketing consulting firm," according to records filed with the secretary of state's office. The location of IntenCity's principal office is listed as a mailbox at the UPS Store on Dorrance Street in Providence, and its mailing address is Pontarelli's home in Cranston.
Pontarelli's family had longstanding ties to Cicilline through his sister, Lisa Pontarelli, according to published reports. She'd known the future mayor and congressman since high school, attended Salve Regina University with his sister and managed some of the future mayor's earliest campaigns, including an unsuccessful 1992 primary challenge to state Sen. Rhoda Perry, D-Providence.
Reached by phone on Wednesday at her office, Lisa Pontarelli declined to comment, referring all questions regarding her brother to his attorney. She and David Pontarelli own a home together in Cranston that they bought in 2007 from their mother, Gloria.
David Pontarelli graduated from Providence College in 2000 after attending La Salle Academy and St. Mary's School. While working for the city he was also studying at Bryant University for a master's of business administration degree, which is listed as a preferred credential for the DPW's fiscal advisor. He graduated from Bryant in 2007.
Pontarelli also offered early support to Angel Taveras's mayoral campaign by signing on as one of dozens of members of the host committee for a March 2010 fundraiser held for the future mayor at Roger Williams Park Casino.
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