pension

RIPR FILE

Public employees in Rhode Island are scheduled to vote next week on a proposed deal to settle a lawsuit over Rhode Island’s pension overhaul.  The settlement could save the state as much as $4 billion dollars in payments to retired state employees.  It could also have benefits for union members.  Rhode Island Public Radio political reporter Ian Donnis talks details with RIPR's Elisabeth Harrison.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo on Tuesday said she'll continue to back a settlement to high-stakes pension litigation "on the right terms to the state."

As state treasurer, Raimondo spearheaded the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system that shaved about $4 billion from the state's long-term obligations., The savings were achieved by raising retirement ages, suspending cost of living adjustments and moving workers from a defined benefit plan to a hybrid defined contribution plan.

State officials want to delay until next January the legal fight seeking to overturn the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system.

In a court filing, lawyers representing the state say additional time is necessary to complete disovery in the pension case, take and defend depositions, prepare motions, and get ready for trial.

A series of public employee unions went to court to challenge the 2011 pension overhaul that cut benefits, suspended cost of living increases, and moved some public employees into a 401k-style retirement plan.

Pablo Rodriguez joins Political Roundtable this week as we discuss the outlook for a trial on the pension dispute; Governor-elect Gina Raimondo going out of state to pick her chief of staff; fallout from recent cases in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, and questions about unregistered lobbying.

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo joins Bonus Q+A to talk about the ongoing state pension dispute, HealthSourceRI, CVS' decision to develop a new technology center in Boston, the Rhode Map controversy, and more.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Republican attorney general candidate Dawson Hodgson joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the ongoing probe involving former House speaker Gordon Fox; Hodgson's challenge to Democratic AG Peter Kilmartin; questions of confidentiality involving the development of former I-195 land; and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Second Congressional District Republican Rhue Reis joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss his challenge to Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin; arming URI police; the intensifying GOP gubernatorial primary between Ken Block and Allan Fung; and the outlook on litigating the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has denied a state motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the 2011 overhaul of Rhode Island’s pension system.

In her ruling, Taft-Carter found that there is “an implied in-fact contract” between the state and the public employees challenging the pension overhaul.

Rhode Island's multi-billion dollar pension dispute appears headed to a September 15 trial date in Superior Court after a breakdown in attempts to resolve the conflict through mediation.

Each side blamed the other for the impasse following more than a year of talks.

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.

file / RIPR

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.

RIPR FILE

When will Rhode Islanders stop debating public employee pensions? Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay says that won’t happen anytime soon.

You can hear political analyst Scott MacKay’s commentary every Monday during Morning Edition on Rhode Island Public Radio.

RIPR FILE

Ballots are due Thursday in the first round of voting on the proposed state pension settlement. But it’s not clear when the results will become available.

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.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo joins Bonus Q+A to discuss government transparency, Wall Street, how to reduce inequality, hedge fund investments in the state pension, and much more.

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