The mediation aimed at settling a legal challenge by a series of unions to the state pension overhaul of 2011 is set to continue through the month of February.
Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter met Friday morning with the two sides in the case, according to court spokesman Craig Berke. "They are going to continue to mediate," Berke said, adding that Taft-Carter is scheduled to get another update on February 28.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras' latest State of the City speech celebrates the value of overcoming complex problems through collaboration -- a not-so-subtle contrast with the state pension overhaul championed in 2011 by the mayor's prospective Democratic gubernatorial rival in 2014, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo.
In comments Tuesday evening to the City Council, Taveras notes the contrast to February 2012 when "Providence was running out of cash, and running out of time. In the months that followed, there were some who said Providence could not avoid filing for bankruptcy."
Peter J. Hurtgen, who led the FMCS from 2002 through 2004, says a subset of the eight parties in mediation could potentially reach some areas of agreement among themselves. But he says the complexity of the case makes it unusually fraught for mediation:
Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter this morning told the two sides in the legal challenge to last year's landmark overhaul of the pension system to try to settle their differences through mediation.
Court spokesman Craig Berke says the talks will be facilitated by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a branch of the federal government. Taft-Carter is due to be updated on the status of the discussions in early February.