Read the pension settlement letters between Lincoln Chafee and Gina Raimondo

Dec 5, 2012

Governor Lincoln Chafee used a November 13 letter to state Treasurer Gina Raimondo to broach the possibility of seeking a settlement to the pension lawsuit.

The ensuing correspondence offers some insight into the two officials’ viewpoints and their personal styles. 

In a letter on his official stationery, Chafee crossed out “Treasurer Raimondo” salutation, replacing it with a handwritten “[Dear] Gina”:

Thank you for lunch Friday. My pastrami hit the spot. And our conversation on current events was lively. One issue I would like to explore further than our brief discussion at lunch is pursuing the possibility of a negotiated settlement to the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act litigation pending before the Rhode Island Superior Court.

It is common practice for settlement discussions to be held while litigation is proceeding. I would not make this suggestion if I did not believe the result could be favorable to the Rhode Island taxpayers. And I also believe I can answer in greater detail some of the concerns you raised Friday. All litigation has chances of success and failure and it would be beneficial to our economic standing to have the major court cases associated with pension reform resolved amicably.

Chafee signed the letter “Linc,” after writing, “I look forward to exploring this further with you and labor leaders when appropriate.”

Raimondo responded with a letter dated November 28, using the formal salutation of “Dear Governor Chafee”:

On advice from our counsel, it is not appropriate to pursue the matters you raised. The legislation passed by the General Assembly represented the culmination of 11 months of thoughtful, fact-based analysis and input from retirees, employees and taxpayers.

As we agree, it would be devastating to the state and the fiscal health of many municipalities if the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011 was overturned. And perhaps most importantly, the retirement security of our public employees would again be in jeopardy.

I look forward to continuing to work diligently together to defend this important piece of legislation to protect Rhode Island’s future.

Raimondo closed with “Best wishes for a happy holiday season,” and by signing her full name.