Blogs | Ethan Shorey

She doesn't want to tell you about your roads

For many years, the communications office at the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has played a key role in helping us tell you The Breeze reader what is going on with your roads and bridges. Staff tell us when and how roads are shutting down, when and how they'll be repaired, and how much it will all cost you.

The office once ran like a well-oiled machine, with people like Bryan Lucier, Charles St. Martin and Heidi Gudmundson, under former chief communications director Dana Nolfe, offering detailed answers in polite and timely fashion. The DOT hired Rose Amoros (now Rose Jones) as chief public affairs officer in April of 2013 and it immediately became clear that all calls and emails must go through her. Any request to another staff member was immediately forwarded to her.

The problem is that Amoros rarely returns calls or emails. When she does, the responses almost always come way past our deadline and terribly incomplete, requiring follow-up questions and weeks more of waiting. There have been times where we've waited more than a month for an answer to a basic question. Amoros has shown little or no remorse for her poor performance, remaining aloof and disengaged like few public employees we've ever seen.

After a recent "sorry for the delay" email from Amoros after she failed to provide me information on a structurally deficient bridge in a timely manner, I responded with, "are you sorry? Because it happens every time. Every. Time."

I wasn't surprised at all when no response came.

Our staff has made numerous complaints to Amoros and her bosses since she was hired. Things got so bad last year that we called a meeting with then-DOT Director Michael Lewis where we expressed our concerns and he promised that things would get better. Amoros said little during that meeting in February of 2014. The situation after that only got worse.

In many ways, the DOT communications office was once a shining example of open government. It was something Rhode Island had right. As I tweeted out last week, the office today is "a perfect example of Rhode Island taking something that's working really well and breaking it."

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Comments

Sounds like she is not doing her job...so why do we keep her?

Ethan expressed the situation we have perfectly. It's really puzzling because it's forcing us to develop sources outside of the DOT for information that should be readily available. You'd think that would be last thing the DOT would want.

This is the stereotype of bad government and bad employees. She was given an opportunity to reform, so it seems it is time to make a change.

This bridge needed railings before paving. The bridge has sections missing and the rest rusted ready to fall apart. yes the bridge needed paving but safety issues should come first. Fix the bridge and Pave School street too! And Return the beacon!