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9:30 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Central Falls receiver to announce decision on bankruptcy

Providence, RI – Today is the day Central Falls receiver Robert Flanders Jr. is expected to announce whether he will seek bankruptcy. He's also looking at pulling the school district into the bankruptcy filing.

Central Falls would be the first municipality in Rhode Island to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection and it could happen as soon as today. Central Falls City Councilor James Diossa says police and fire retirees' refusal to take drastic pension cuts has left Flanders with few options.

Police and fire retirees voted overwhelmingly last week either to reject steep pension cuts or to request more time to study it. Governor Lincoln Chafee was asked if five days gave them enough time to make an informed decision.

The governor's office tells WRNI that there have been talks with the school board, superintendent and state board of regents about whether the school district will be part of Central Falls' bankruptcy filing. The city is so short of cash that it's expected to end the month in a deficit situation. A group of 57 retired fire and police have urged Flanders not to file for bankruptcy, and asked for documents backing the need for pension cuts. Flanders and Governor Lincoln Chafee have met with union representatives for city workers, police and fire. Those talks were characterized as cordial and meant to bring the unions up to speed on Central Falls financial crises.

There is one bit of good news for Central Falls residents: the library, which was shuttered July 1st, will re-open today with volunteers. The library, however, is no longer part of the Ocean State Libraries network, which allows books to be borrowed from other towns.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@wrni.org.