It seems everywhere State Treasurer Gina Raimando goes, those affected by the pension overhaul, follow. That was the case today outside a conference in Providence. Now, public employees have a new battle they're fighting with the treasurer.
On the inside of the Omni Hotel, Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo is showered with applause. She was keynote speaker at a conference on distressed municipalities. Her leadership in the state's pension overhaul admired, as she spoke at the conference.
"I think our story here is that change is possible, commit yourself to tackling these issues, and you will be successful,"said Raimondo.
On the outside, it was a much different greeting. The treasurer was booed by at least a hundred members of the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters as she walked to her car.
Paul Valletta of the Cranston Firefighters Union says, "I don't think the model that she puts out there is the right one, not for people. It may be the right one for her to run for higher office, it may be the right one for the people that are in that conference, the bond buyers."
Valletta agrees something needed to be done with the pension system, he just wishes they were given the chance to negotiate.
Raimondo says she gave them the chance to bargain, "We had an open transparent process, they were at the table, but they don't agree."
Valletta says that's not the case, "I have no idea what she's talking about when she says that we were afforded the right to sit at the bargaining table because if we were, there would be no court cases and this thing would be over."
The court battle over the state's pension reform remains in mediation, meanwhile this union has another battle it's tackling.
"Our goal is not to have her as governor in the state of Rhode Island,"said Cranston Lt. Dean Brockway.
Raimondo hasn't publicly announced her run for Governor, but she didn't deny it when we asked her today.
"I'm considering running for Governor, I've made no choices, and I'm working hard as treasurer,"said Raimondo.