RI Pension Fairness Hearing underway

By Matt Blanchette

 mblanchette@abc6.com   

 @mattblanchette

Over a month after reaching a settlement agreement, the plaintiffs, state and municipal workers teachers and retirees, and the defendant, the  State of Rhode Island, are back and court to determine if the pension settlement is fair and just. This time attorneys for both sides agree.
“The settlement to be sure does not achieve the complete relief sought by the plaintiffs, but it does provide real and concrete benefits to the plaintiff class,  benefits which are certain, predictable and immediate,” said Lynette Labinger, an Attorney for Plaintiff.
“As a citizen of  the state  of Rhode Island and an attorney with the state defendants that it is in the best interests of all concerned to resolve  this matter in  a  way that is fair adequate and  reasonable  for all. It is what is  right for Rhode Island,” John Tarantino, who represents RI, said.
But since this is a class action suit there are small sects that do not believe that, and they will have a chance  to voice their displeasure. 69 objectors have requested and will be heard throughout the course of these  proceedings for five minutes each.
Robert Walsh executive director of  NEARI, which  has roughly 12,000 plaintiffs in the case, has fought rigorously against pension reforms,  but explained on the stand today why his union thinks the deal is best.
“It was well and carefully considered whats the best outcome for the  greatest number of people.It can be fair and  heartbreaking at the same time is the underlying message.”