PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has denied he micromanaged city schools by interviewing crossing guards, but his calendars list him holding interviews with crossing guard candidates and candidates for dozens of other low-level jobs.
Elorza's calendars list interviews with two crossing guard candidates in March. The calendars, released to The Associated Press after a public records request, also show the Democrat interviewing candidates for positions including a tree trimmer, utility workers in training and a substitute clerk.
His calendars from January into July described those and dozens of other meetings with job candidates as "interviews."
Elorza's spokeswoman, Emily Crowell, said Tuesday that the mayor met with crossing guards as part of the interview process but doesn't consider them formal interviews in the way that director, board member or commission member interviews would take place.
Rather, "his phone call/interview is largely symbolic" and a way for Elorza to build connections with new city employees and promote pride in city service, Crowell said in an email, noting that Elorza hasn't personally rejected any candidates he has interviewed for low-level positions.
Complaints about Elorza micromanaging surfaced in an independent report about Providence's dysfunctional schools, released this summer. The superintendent and school board members referred to the mayor's interviewing crossing guards as an example of micromanagement.
The review team from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy said Elorza "explicitly denied" interviewing crossing guards.