Judge Gives Final Approval to Rhode Island Pension Settlement


On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter formally entered her judgment on the pension settlement reached between Rhode Island and its retirees.

Carter informally approved the settlement in June. Now, parties have 20 days to appeal the judgment; once the 20 days are up, the settlement is officially approved.

From the Providence Journal:

In a 68-page ruling in June, Taft-Carter agreed with lawyers for both the state and suing groups of unions and retirees that the settlement was fair, adequate and reasonable considering the risks both sides faced if the case went to trial. On Wednesday, the judge entered a final judgment, making it official.

A 20-day clock now begins ticking for parties to file notice of appeal, courts spokesman Craig N. Berke said.

Lee D. Grossi, a retired state budget officer, alerted the court Tuesday that he intended to appeal. In May, Grossi objected to the proposed settlement on the grounds that it created an injustice to members of his retirement class.

In signing the state budget bill last week, Governor Raimondo approved the settlement resulting from the 2011 overhaul of the state pension system she orchestrated while serving as general treasurer. It ended most of the legal challenges to the landmark pension overhaul law, which, unlike virtually anywhere else in the country, reached back and cut benefits already promised retirees.

The settlement maintains most of the savings and cuts of the 2011 overhaul. But the settlement does give retirees some relief, with more frequent COLAs and lower retirement ages.


Photo credit: “Flag-map of Rhode Island” by Darwinek – self-made using Image:Flag of Rhode Island.svg and Image:USA Rhode Island location map.svg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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