In a preview of things to come as Rhode Island's Democratic primary grows more intense, the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and state Treasurer Gina Raimondo are trading sharp jabs over the handling of the high-stakes state pension conflict.
Governor Lincoln Chafee says he remains hopeful the proposed state pension settlement can be salvaged, possibly by leaving out the police group that was the only one of six in an initial round of voting to reject the deal.
A judge has ordered the parties in a lawsuit over Rhode Island's pension overhaul back to the mediation table, after police voted to reject a proposed settlement. Many teachers, firefighters, state workers and retirees voted to accept the deal, which was reached after more than a year of negotiation.
Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison sat down with political analyst Scott Mackay to figure out what the rejection means, and where the pension settlement can go from here.
In a move that could send the battle over Rhode Island's 2011 pension overhaul back to court, one of the six plaintiff groups that had to initially sign off on a proposed settlement has voted against the deal.
As a result, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has ordered the two sides in the dispute -- the state and a series of public-employee unions -- back to mediation. Taft-Carter is slated to get an update on the talks next Monday, April 14.
Thousands of public employees and retirees who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit over the state’s pension overhaul have voted to approve changes made in mediation. Of the 23,624 individuals eligible to cast a ballot, roughly 70 percent did not vote against it.
The settlement agreement stated that if one of the six plaintiffs groups rejected the deal by more than half, then the settlement process ends. One group, police, rejected the deal by 61 percent. But spokesman for the plaintiffs’ Ray Sullivan, said this will not halt the process.
Ballots have been mailed to union members and retirees who are eligible to participate in the first round of voting on the proposed pension settlement that was unveiled February 14, according to Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for the plaintiffs' coalition the case. The deadline for returning the ballots is April 3.
Sullivan says a self-addressed, postage-paid envelope has been provided with the ballot. He says the ballots will tabulated by ProMail, which he says is an independently administered firm.
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican candidate for governor, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss his plan for beating rival GOP candidate Ken Block; his opposition to Rhode Island's proposed pension settlement; the impact of Massachusetts gambling on Twin River; and Myrth York's endorsement for Gina Raimondo.