Providence City Council President Luis Aponte joins Bonus Q+A to discuss the outlook on development in Providence, and a host of other issues, including pensions, Kennedy Plaza, the PawSox, and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

House Deputy Whip Christopher Blazejewski (D-Providence) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss mixed economic news coming out of Rhode Island's capital city; the next step for the PawSox after the death of Jim Skeffington; and the fairness hearing being held on the state pension settlement.

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.

Ian Donnis

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is getting ready to leave City Hall after a tumultuous few years. Taveras lost his bid to become governor, but he takes credit for helping to stabilize Providence's finances. The mayor talked about his record and what's next during a wide-ranging exit interview.

With just over a month until Election Day, the post-primary lull is rapidly fading into the past. So thanks for stopping by, feel to send your tips and thoughts my way at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org, and to follow me on the twitters. Here we go:

Speculation is growing that a deal may have been reached in the pension mediation talks first ordered in December 2012 by Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Political Roundtable this week as we discuss the troubled rollout of Obamacare; back and forth over pensions; the merits of tax stabilization in Providence; and the Democratic race for lieutenant governor.

Democratic Treasurer candidate Seth Magaziner joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his campaign a host of other issues, including pension management, hedge funds, using the treasurer's office to create jobs, and whether being 30 is an advantage or a disadvantage as a candidate.

Here's how a Rolling Stone headline sums up muckraker Matt Taibbi's story on the pension overhaul championed in Rhode Island by state Treasurer Gina Raimondo in 2011: "Looting Pension Funds. All Across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers."

The first comment from Raimondo comes eight pages into the story, the equivalent of an 11-page printout, after Taibbi presents his case in his signature profanity-laden style.


Mediation is set to continue over the challenge by a series of public-employee unions to an overhaul of the state pension system in 2011.

The outcome of the case has big implications for the state.The two sides in the pension case have repeatedly asked for more time to mediate their differences. Following another such request, the next update is slated before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter on September 5th. Taft-Carter was the one who ordered mediation in the case last December.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

An audit shows that six state retirees received a combined overpayment of almost 560-thousand dollars in disability pensions. The state retirement system is working with law enforcement to determine whether to pursue criminal or civil charges against the individuals.

In a statement, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo said the retirees received the overpayments between 2001 and the end of 2011. Raimondo, who chairs the state Retirement Board, said disability pensions have been suspended for the six individuals.

Six people with disability pensions through the state retirement system received almost $560,000 in overpayments, an audit shows.

The findings were announced by state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who chairs the state Retirement Board. She says they were revealed by the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) and the auditing firm of Sullivan & Company.

Raimondo says the overpayments took place between 2001 and the end of 2011.

AFSCME's Council 94, the largest union of state public employees, has hired pension expert Edward "Ted" Siedle, whose piece in April sparked debate about state Treasurer Gina Raimondo's heightened allocation of hedge funds in the $7 billion state pension fund.

With the aftermath of this week's Boston Marathon attack remaining in the forefront of headlines, we're keeping the focus on politics in my Friday column. Thanks for stopping by; as always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung joins Bonus Q+A to talk about why he's a Republican, his potential race for governor next year, and what Rhode Island should do to improve its economy, among other issues.