More Retirees Lining Up to Appeal Rhode Island Pension Settlement


Dozens more retirees have signed on to an appeal of the settlement reached this year between Rhode Island and its public retirees.

The settlement, approved by a judge earlier this month, was the conclusion of a years-long lawsuit by retirees challenging a series of 2011 pension cuts.

The settlement restored some cuts, but left most intact.

From the Providence Journal:

Fifty-six Woonsocket police retirees and a Pawtucket dispatcher have served notice that they intend to appeal the court-approved settlement of the legal fight over Rhode Island’s much-heralded 2011 pension overhaul.

The appeals are aimed at Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter’s June 9 approval of the terms of the state’s settlement with the vast majority of the public employee unions that challenged the legality of the $4 billion pension-cutting law that Governor Raimondo presided over as state treasurer in 2011.

The judge did not sign the official “entry of judgment” until July 8, after state lawmakers had approved the settlement as part of the state budget. That started the 20-calendar-day clock ticking for parties to file notices of appeal. After that they have up to 60 days to file their appeal, according to Judiciary spokesman Craig Berke.

The first to signal his intent to appeal was former state budget officer Lee Grossi.

Earlier this month, former state worker Louise Bright filed her own notice of appeal and, along with it, a July 12 letter stating her dismay at the settlement of the case without a ruling on the central legal issue: whether the pension changes constituted an unconstitutional breach of contract.

“The State of Rhode Island is currently hiring, paying cost of living to their politicians, giving raises, and even contemplating funding the PawSox’s move to Providence. How are we less important?” asked Bright, who in 2007 was an associate director for financial management in the Department of Administration.

The appeal asks the state Supreme Court to review the legality of the terms of the settlement.


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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