Central Falls bankruptcy hearings begin

PROVIDENCE, RI – The fight over Central Falls' fiscal crisis has moved to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where the two sides offered sharply different messages Wednesday.

Receiver Robert Flanders says he's moving ahead with a plan, to include about 40 layoffs, to cut Central Falls' expenses to match its $16 million in annual revenue.

But lawyers representing the city's public-employee unions say they may challenge the bankruptcy filing itself. Diane Finkle, a lawyer for the police union, says she doesn't think Central Falls can ignore its collective bargaining agreements, either.

"It's moving very quickly and there has not been sufficient amount of time to meet with the various unions to reach some resolution," Finkle said.

Flanders voided Central Falls' police and fire contracts as part of the city's chapter 9 bankruptcy filing on Monday. He says he's hopeful the two sides can find common ground in bankruptcy court.

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