Sarah Taft-Carter

RIPR FILE

  Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, in a decision released Tuesday afternoon, approved the proposed settlement of Rhode Island's pension conflict.

The judge's action clears the way for the General Assembly to approve the pension deal, the last step needed for the settlement to go into effect. Taft-Carter recently held a multi-day hearing during which some current employees and retirees urged her to reject the settlement.

But the judge ruled that the deal meets the necessary legal standard for it to go forward.

Pool Photo/Kathy Borchers / The Providence Journal

A multi-day hearing to determine the fairness of the proposed state pension settlement started in Superior Court Wednesday. Fewer than 70 current state workers and retirees are expected to urge Judge Sarah Taft-Carter to reject the deal.

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A multi-day hearing to assess the fairness of the state’s proposed pension settlement is scheduled to start Wednesday in Superior Court. Most of the public employees involved in the case have already approved the settlement.

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter last month set a timeline for moving ahead with the pension deal. About 65 people with concerns about the settlement have asked to speak in front of the judge.

The so-called fairness hearing is expected to last three to five days. The hearing will begin with expert testimony about each side of the pension case.

RIPR FILE

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.

Saying the gag order interferes with news organizations' efforts to inform the public, the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association has called on Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter to lift the order.

The gag order prevents parties to the pension lawsuit from discussing details of a proposed settlement, which is already being voted on by union members and retirees.

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