Providence Mayor Taveras signs pension reforms into law

“It's not an easy thing to do, but it is a necessary thing to do.” said Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.

With those words, and a few strokes of his pen, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, signed his pension protection plan, into law.

The reforms are historic, the biggest changes ever made to the capital city's pension plan.

All but one Providence union has come out against it.

At the same time as the reforms were being signed into law, the Providence Firefighters Local 799 were protesting the plan outside a restaurant, where City Councilor David Salvatore was holding a fundraiser, to air their grievances, and protest the council's decision.

One man who is reacting to the changes is Ed Scallon, a former Providence police officer who says that the nearly 16-million dollars that the city will save from freezing COLAS, won't help him at all.

“We make the bills, but that's about it, we're not knocking down anywhere close to what the public thinks we are.” said Scallon.

Scallon is taking a different approach and using the courts to fight back, by filing an injunction, to stop the new COLA-suspending ordinance from taking effect.

“I was forced to protect myself and my family, and I filed an action in the superior court in Providence.” said Scallon.

Scallon's legal move is one that the city council anticipated, although they say their hands were bound, and change had to come to the system.

“I would expect litigation absolutely, but the current system is right now unsustainable, it just, we had to make changes or there'd be no pension system in the future.” said council president Michael Solomon.

That future is what makes Scallon the most worried, because he feels that this decision, sets a dangerous precedent.

“The city council down the road can say, ' Oh, well we're going to take these benefits away because we need extra money for something else, it's just not fair.” said Scallon.

The firefighters union leadership has said that they are interested in using the legal system to stop the ordinance from going into effect, but at this time they're waiting to make sure all their ducks are in a row, before going to court.