The judge overseeing the state pension conflict is slated to hear arguments on a number of motions Thursday. The window for voting on a proposed settlement ends Friday.
A series of public-employee unions are suing over changes made to their benefits as part of a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system. That conflict will move ahead in court next month, unless there’s a settlement in the case.
Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.
It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.
A legal observer says he expects the legal dispute over a 2011 overhaul of the state pension system to be settled out of court.
Roger Williams University Law School dean Michael Yelnosky said he’s fairly optimistic about the outlook for a settlement. “For a couple of reasons: one, they came so very close before; there continue to be lots of good reasons to settle on both sides,” said Yelnosky.
Efforts to settle the pension dispute fell apart in April when one of six plaintiff groups rejected a proposed deal.
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.
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.
Mediation is set to continue over the challenge by a series of public-employee unions to an overhaul of the state pension system in 2011.
The outcome of the case has big implications for the state.The two sides in the pension case have repeatedly asked for more time to mediate their differences. Following another such request, the next update is slated before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter on September 5th. Taft-Carter was the one who ordered mediation in the case last December.
In what Providence Mayor Angel Taveras calls a historic day, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter gave final approval Friday for a deal that will reduce the capital city's $900 million+ unfunded pension liability by $178 million. The agreement followed negotiations between the city and police and fire unions and municipal retirees.
"Today is the end of a long, long road that we've traveled," Taveras said in an interview. "I feel a lot of relief and gratitude to all the employees and retirees especially who have agreed to help the city."