State officials have announced a series of informational sessions regarding the proposed public pension settlement, with the first forum scheduled for Feb. 26 in Cranston.
The meetings come after Gov. Lincoln Chafee, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, union attorneys and other officials announced the agreement during a Valentine’s Day press conference. The deal would settle legal challenges to pension reform laws passed in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and would preserve roughly 95 percent of the savings realized under the latter law, which was championed by Raimondo.
The gatherings are also being held as six “blocks” of public employees and retirees prepare to vote on the settlement, the first of multiple steps needed for approval. If more than 50 percent of any one block – teachers, state employees, municipal employees, firefighters, police and retirees – rejects the deal, the settlement fails and litigation continues.
The voting will be conducted by mail, and must take place within a 60-day window of the settlement’s announcement. Under the agreement negotiation by the state and plaintiffs in the legal action, unreturned ballots will be counted as “yes” votes, with those voting instructed only to return their ballot if they are voting “no.”
The settlement will also require judicial backing and the approval of the General Assembly.
The first session is scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Cranston Portuguese Club, located at 20 Cranston Ave. in Cranston.
The other forums are as follows:
Monday, March 3, 2 p.m. – University of Rhode Island, Memorial Student Union, Grand Ball Room, 50 Lower College Road, Kingston
Monday, March 3, 4:30 p.m. – University of Rhode Island, Memorial Student Union, Grand Ball Room, 50 Lower College Road, Kingston
Tuesday, March 4, 4:30 p.m. – Community College of Rhode Island, Knight Campus Theater, 400 East Ave., Warwick
Wednesday, March 5, 4:30 p.m. – Community College of Rhode Island, Flanagan Campus, Room 1336, 1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln
Thursday, March 6, 4:30 p.m. – Community College of Rhode Island, Newport County Campus, Main Auditorium, One John H. Chafee Blvd., Newport
Tuesday, March 11, 4:30 p.m. – East Providence High School, Main Auditorium, 2000 Pawtucket Ave., East Providence
Wednesday, March 12, 10 a.m. – Eleanor Slater Hospital, Arnold Conference Center, 111 Howard Ave., Cranston
Wednesday, March 12, 2 p.m. – Eleanor Slater Hospital, Arnold Conference Center, 111 Howard Ave., Cranston
Friday, March 14, 12:30 p.m. – Rhode Island Department of Administration Conference Room A, One Capitol Hill, Providence
Friday, March 14, 2:30 p.m. – Rhode Island Department of Administration Conference Room A, One Capitol Hill, Providence
For additional information on the proposed settlement and the upcoming public forums, visit www.ripensioninfo.org.