Mediation fails in Pension lawsuit, State prepares to go to court
By: Dee DeQuattro
Mediation talks in Rhode Island's Pension Overhaul deal have come to an end according to Governor Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.
The battle over changes to state worker and retiree pension system will now move to court. A trial is slated to begin September 15.
On Monday, it was revealed that police officers rejected the proposed settlement deal forcing the matter back into mediation. The other five groups, including accepted the settlement deal, however part of the agreement was that if one of the six groups rejected the settlement deal then in could not be approved.
“We would like to commend and thank the plaintiff union leaders that worked closely with us over the last year to reach this settlement. And we would like to thank the large majority of their members who were willing to go forward with us to avoid lengthy and costly litigation,” said Chafee and Raimondo in a joint statement.
Chafee and Raimondo said despite their frustration and disappointment that the settlement did not work out, they continue to believe the changes made to the pensions are constitutional and noted that the state will begin to prepare for litigation.
The Plaintiffs too, said they are prepared to challenge the law in court. “The plaintiffs abided by the judge's order to explore a path to a new settlement agreement, but the state decided it would rather pursue costly and drawn out litigation rather than reach a reasonable agreement to guarantee stability and predictability to the pension system. We are now prepared to take the necessary steps in proceeding to trial,” said Ray Sullivan, spokesperson for the plaintiff groups.
(C) WLNE-TV 2014