Anticipation Grows About Possible Deal in Pension Talks

Nov 25, 2013

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.

Daniel Beardsley, executive director of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, says he was told last Friday that a deal had been struck by the parties mediating the pension case. He declined to reveal his source. The indication of a possible deal by Beardsley was first reported by the Providence Journal.

Spokeswomen for State Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Governor Lincoln Chafee declined comment, citing a gag order imposed by Judge Taft-Carter.

The two sides in the pension talks have met almost a dozen times since mediation began behind closed doors. Taft-Carter is due to get her next update on the case December 9, at 9 a.m., in Kent County Superior Court.

The General Assembly would have to approve any deal that meets with Taft-Carter's approval. The details of a possible deal could have important consequences for state and municipal budgets.

The 2011 overhaul of the state pension system shaved billions of dollars in liability off Rhode Island's long-term pension obligations and made Raimondo into a rising star. The unions that sued to challenge the overhaul say it went too far and was unconstitutional.