RIPEC marking 90th Anniversary; Political Analyst Ron Brownstein delivering keynote
The Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) will honor two public employees for their outstanding service at their Annual Meeting, which marks the organization’s 90th anniversary, on Monday, October 24th at 5:30 p.m. at the Rhode Island Convention Center. This year’s public service award winners are Patricia Sunderland, Finance Director for the Town of East Greenwich, and Gerald R. Williams, Director of the Talent Development Program at the University of Rhode Island.
For the past 46 years, RIPEC has recognized unsung heroes who have made outstanding contributions to public service.
This year’s Robert M. Goodrich Distinguished Public Service Awardee, Patricia Sunderland, has served as the Finance Director for the Town of East Greenwich since 2019 and has 26 years of experience serving municipal governments. Sunderland is a recipient of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Financial Officers Association and among her professional achievements in East Greenwich are the successful funding of the town’s pension system, the development of plans for the town’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation, and the administration of the town’s six-year capital improvement program.
Receiving the Gary S. Sasse Distinguished Public Service Award, Gerald R. Williams serves as Director of the Talent Development Program at the University of Rhode Island, a position he has held since 2000. Williams is the third and longest serving director of Talent Development, which has recruited and served Rhode Island high school graduates who come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds since its inception in 1968. As Director, Williams can be credited with many improvements, including the expansion of the program to the Providence campus, the doubling of the number of scholars admitted annually, and the development of career pathways into several high need fields.
Ron Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Senior Editor for The Atlantic, and Contributing Editor for National Journal, will deliver the Annual Meeting’s keynote address. The Economist called Brownstein “one of America’s best political journalists,” saying that “his speeches reflect the depth of his knowledge of the wide expanse of America’s past and present, making him one of the most trustworthy predictors of America’s future.” In addition to his reporting, Brownstein is the best-selling author or editor of seven books, including, The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America, and his latest, Rock Me on the Water: 1974 — The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics.
Governor Dan McKee, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, and House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi will provide remarks.
For the past 90 years, business and nonprofit leaders have served as RIPEC members, supporting the organization’s work in finding solutions to critical challenges facing the Ocean State. RIPEC’s objective research provides much needed analysis for taxpayers, state and local policymakers, and members of the media. RIPEC continues to focus on the most pressing issues facing Rhode Island: improving state and local tax policy, the adoption of strong, responsible state and municipal budgets, and bold action to improve K-12 education.
If members of the public are interested in attending the event, tickets can be purchased here.

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