pension overhaul

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The uphill battle to improve Rhode Island's economy, an appeal of the state pension settlement, and the mysterious explosion on Salty Brine Beach. That's all part of the conversation this week on Political Roundtable.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison hosts; Ian Donnis is away. We're joined, as always, by URI political science professor Maureen Moakley and RIPR's political analyst Scott MacKay.

John Bender / RIPR

Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss Lincoln Chafee's possible presidential run; the proposed settlement of the state pension conflict; and what's ahead for public education.


A settlement to Rhode Island's pension conflict may be announced Thursday.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said through his spokesman that a settlement may be at hand. The state has offered modest improvements on a settlement offer rejected last year in an attempt to end the pension dispute. Hanging in the balance is $4 billion in savings for the state pension plan.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Lawyer, former Central Falls receiver, and former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the outlook on Rhode Island's pension conflict, whether gag orders are a good idea, and lessons from the fiscal crisis in Central Falls.

For more Flanders, listen to his conversation with us on Bonus Q&A.

File/Ryan T Conaty

Since August, 2010, the Rhode Island Public Radio newsroom has been headed up by News Director Catherine Welch. Friday is Catherine’s last day. She’s leaving for a job in Orlando, Florida where she will be news director at the public radio station WMFE.

Orlando is the 33rd largest television market in the country, and WMFE is a growing station covering Orlando, Daytona Beach and the Space Coast. Catherine has family in Central Florida and is looking forward to being closer to them as well.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

It's not every day you find Governor-elect Gina Raimondo and one of her leading critics, Edward "Ted" Siedle, getting praised in the same place.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

There’s a photograph on Cranston Mayor Allan Fung’s desk of his first inauguration. He’s being sworn into the mayor’s office he has the family Bible and his parents are by his side. “I can see the pride in my mom’s eyes, in my dad’s eyes as I was getting sworn in,” said Fung.

He looks at this photo almost every day, “and it just reminds me of who I am and how far they’ve come, and because of what they did I’m where I am.”

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has denied a state motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the 2011 overhaul of Rhode Island’s pension system.

In her ruling, Taft-Carter found that there is “an implied in-fact contract” between the state and the public employees challenging the pension overhaul.

Rhode Island's multi-billion dollar pension dispute appears headed to a September 15 trial date in Superior Court after a breakdown in attempts to resolve the conflict through mediation.

Each side blamed the other for the impasse following more than a year of talks.

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

In a preview of things to come as Rhode Island's Democratic primary grows more intense, the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo are trading sharp jabs over the handling of the high-stakes state pension conflict.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he remains hopeful the proposed state pension settlement can be salvaged, possibly by leaving out the police group that was the only one of six in an initial round of voting to reject the deal.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A judge has ordered the parties in a lawsuit over Rhode Island's pension overhaul back to the mediation table, after police voted to reject a proposed settlement. Many teachers, firefighters, state workers and retirees voted to accept the deal, which was reached after more than a year of negotiation.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison sat down with political analyst Scott Mackay to figure out what the rejection means, and where the pension settlement can go from here.

In a move that could send the battle over Rhode Island's 2011 pension overhaul back to court, one of the six plaintiff groups that had to initially sign off on a proposed settlement has voted against the deal.

As a result, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has ordered the two sides in the dispute -- the state and a series of public-employee unions -- back to mediation. Taft-Carter is slated to get an update on the talks next Monday, April 14.

file / RIPR

Thousands of public employees and retirees who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the state’s pension overhaul have voted to approve changes made in mediation. Of the 23,624 individuals eligible to cast a ballot, roughly 70 percent did not vote against it. 

The settlement agreement stated that if one of the six plaintiffs groups rejected the deal by more than half, then the settlement process ends. One group, police, rejected the deal by 61 percent. But spokesman for the plaintiffs’ Ray Sullivan, said this will not halt the process.