Catherine Welch / RIPR

A report commissioned by the largest state employee union claims Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s overhaul of Rhode Island’s pension system is enriching Wall Street investment managers. 

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo is throwing cold water on a plan advanced by Frank Caprio, the man who wants her job.

Caprio has proposed reducing pension fund investment fees and funneling that money back into cost of living increases for teachers and public employees. Their pensions were frozen in 2011 as part of a package of legislative reforms to shore up the ailing pension system.

The two sides discussing a possible settlement over the 2011 overhaul of Rhode Island’s state pension system will have a few more weeks to talk.

The two sides met Thursday afternoon with Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter. In the latest in a series of continuances, she scheduled another update on ongoing mediation in the case for September 30.

Taft-Carter ordered mediation last December after a series of public-employee unions filed a suit over the pension overhaul. The unions say the overhaul went too far in cutting benefits and violated their constitutional rights.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Roundtable this week as we discuss ongoing mediation over Rhode Island's pension lawsuit; the start next week of a 10-cent toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge; Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin's decision to become a Republican; and the US Justice Department stepping away from mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Democratic candidate for treasurer Ernest Almonte joins the Roundtable to discuss lingering questions about 38 Studios; the state pension fund's stake in hedge funds; and how John Robitaille could remake the GOP field for governor in 2014.

Four groups -- Common Cause of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Press Association, and the state chapters of the ACLU and the League of Women Voters -- say state Treasurer Gina Raimondo needs to offer more disclosure about the state pension fund's investment in hedge funds.

Mediation will continue in the high-stakes legal challenge by a series of public-employee unions to the overhaul of the state pension system that became law in 2011.

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter is scheduled to get the next update in the case on September 5, according to court spokesman Craig Berke. The hearing will take place in Kent County, since Taft-Carter is being assigned there this fall.

file / RIPR

Rhode Island’s pension fund earned a return on its investment of a little more than 11 percent for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. But state Treasurer Gina Raimondo is sounding a warning about the future of the state’s pension plan.

The 11.1 percent earned by the state pension fund is a big improvement over the 1.4 percent return a year earlier. Still, Rhode Island fared a bit worse than the 12.5 percent earned by the country’s largest public employee pension system, CALPERS, over the same period.

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo's office and one of her most prominent critics, Ted Siedle, are trading shots anew after the state's largest public-employee union hired Siedle to review the work of the state Investment Commission.

In a statement, Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox says:

In politics, as in pensions, assets can turn into liabilities. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if an advocacy group for pension overhaul that doesn’t need to disclose its members has become state Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s Achilles heel.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung announced an agreement Monday to improve the condition of one of the worst funded municipal pensions in the state.

Fung says the deal will save Cranston $6.5 million in pension costs over the next fiscal year while solving a lingering problem.

“This issue has been an albatross over the city for decades, close to half a century, and this agreement shows the progress that can be made when all parties come together in a spirit of cooperation,” said Fung.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

About a hundred firefighters protested Monday morning outside a conference focused on distressed municipalities, where state treasurer Gina Raimondo was the keynote speaker. Inside, Raimondo applauded the cooperation it took from organized labor to make the state pension overhaul possible.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras
Flo Jonic / RIPR

A Superior Court judge has approved pension settlement in Providence with retirees and current workers.  Judge Sarah Taft-Carter is expected to finalize the agreement next month.

The Providence pension settlement includes freezing cost of living adjustments, scaling back future benefits and moving retirees over to Medicare.

In her decision, Taft-Carter calls the settlement fair, reasonable, and adequate. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras calls the approval a significant step to finalizing the city’s pension agreement.

RI State House
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A legal challenge to the overhaul of the state pension system will remain on hold as the two sides continue to mediate the dispute.

Providence City Hall
RIPR file

The City of Providence is suing its longtime actuary, claiming the company made a $10 million mistake in pension calculations.