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Ex-McKee aide Tony Silva getting $53K state payout in unused vaca, sick time

Target 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee’s former chief of staff, Tony Silva, is getting paid nearly $53,000 in unused sick and vacation time he accrued over the years before resigning from state government last month amid an investigation into whether he influenced a controversial land deal.

The R.I. Department of Administration on Friday provided a payout estimate showing Silva accrued 264 hours in unused vacation, 211 hours of refundable sick time and 28 hours of furlough hours he earned but didn’t use during his time working for the state.

The time together totaled 503 hours worth $52,871, or about $105 per hour.

The unused time paid out to Silva is separate from his pension and the regular paycheck he received during the years he worked for the state. He previously served as director of the R.I. Division of Motor Vehicles under Gov. Lincoln Chafee and is eligible for an annual state pension of $44,845, according to the treasurer’s office.

Silva had been McKee’s top aide in both the lieutenant governor’s office and then the governor’s office since McKee first took office at the statewide level in 2015.

Silva resigned last month after McKee asked R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha to investigate whether he influenced a development proposal by his family to build a new house on protected wetlands on Canning Street in Cumberland. McKee previously served as the town’s mayor and Silva was formerly chief of police there.

As Target 12 first reported, documents obtained through a records request showed Silva continued to lobby Cumberland Mayor Jeff Mutter over the deal well after he claimed to have given up all financial interest in the proposed development.

The Silva family received a key state permit to build on the wetlands after McKee took office in March, but they eventually promised to donate the land to the town instead after the deal became the focus of intense public scrutiny. McKee and Silva have said there was no inappropriate influence exercised at the state level.

Separately, the R.I. Department of Business Regulation last week fined Silva for operating a construction business — My Hero Construction, which he apparently established in 2018 — without a valid state license. He was issued a penalty of $1,000.

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is an investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Ted Nesi contributed to this story.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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