City retirees are upset about the Providence pension deal, not just because of the money they could lose, but also because they say they had no idea a deal had been made.
It is far from a done deal and the retirees will have a final vote. The union representatives say the agreement is the result of countless hours of mediation with the city. They just wish they would have been able to tell their members before Mayor Taveras told the media.
President of the Providence Police and Fire Retirees Association says his phone has been ringing off the hook since the Mayor made the announcement, calls from the 1100 retired firefighters he represents who say they were left in the dark about the deal.
"He can have all of the press conferences he wants," Jarvis said. "But our members should have been afforded the opportunity to hear it from us."
Jarvis was there for the mediation, but he says the Mayor Taveras jumped the gun, leaving him to play defense and explain to his retirees that if they vote to accept it, pensions would be capped and COLAs would be frozen for the next 10 years.
"It's a battle we are going to have to fight. We will present it to them and they're going to have to make their own decisions," Jarvis said.
Attorney for the public safety retirees Joe Penza says this might be the best offer.
"They're faced with the lesser of two evils," Penza said. "If the city goes bankrupt, they could end up with substantially less."
He says they were able to get COLAs suspended for only 10 years as opposed to 24.
The city and the unions will have one more mediation session tomorrow, then all of the retirees will get a chance to vote sometime next month. If they reject it, the city could go bankrupt. If it is accepted, those who do not want to sign on can sue on their own, but it would have no impact on the overall settlement.