PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mayor-elect Brett Smiley says he’s considering a change to the city’s public safety leadership structure, as the Providence Department of Public Safety is poised to see a major shakeup on Monday.
Smiley announced Tuesday that Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré will retire effective Monday after 12 years on the job. Smiley lauded the commissioner for his service.
“I have never doubted his commitment to Providence and belief in the city,” Smiley said.
Smiley said the transition process has given him the chance to interview every director and senior leader in government, and he’s thinking about ways he can improve public safety.
“I’m going to take my time to reconsider the commission structure in general … what the right role of the commissioner is and right now I’m focusing on the police chief role instead,” he said.
In addition to Paré’s departure, longtime Police Chief Hugh Clements is also leaving for a yet-to-be-announced job elsewhere. He’s expected to stay on and advise Smiley on his replacement.
As for Paré, he said Smiley’s plans didn’t come out of the blue.
“We met several times spoke several times as well and it was an understanding that there was going to be a change,” he said.
Paré’s departure means Smiley will technically serve as commissioner until a replacement is named. He noted that this won’t be the first time that position has been left open.
“He knows the role of the public safety commissioner,” he said of Smiley. “Under the previous mayor they didn’t have a commissioner, so it’s not odd that it’s not filled.”
When asked about his time as commissioner, Paré said he hopes his impact and trust in the community will be recognized. He also attributes his accomplishments to his staff.
“It didn’t happen because of me, it happened because it was a collective effort,” he said. “I think that’s just life. You want to take a program and change it and you only have so much time.”
Smiley is scheduled to be sworn into office on Monday.