Governor Chafee said: “I was saddened to learn of the passing of Nuala Pell, the devoted wife of Senator Claiborne Pell, a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother and well-respected advocate for education, women’s health issues and the arts.Nuala Pell was ever present on the political campaign trail and her opinion was valued by many. Her passion for scholarship and the humanities led to a decades-long advocacy of public service and philanthropy. My sincere condolences to the Pell Family as we celebrate the many accomplishments of this remarkably talented and caring woman who has left her mark throughout our state.”
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo today released the following statement:“More than one year ago, Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ordered the parties involved in numerous pension lawsuits from 2009, 2010 and 2011 into mediation. With the help of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the parties to this litigation worked collaboratively on a proposed settlement.The proposal announced on February 14 retained the structural elements of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011, and maintained 95 percent of the necessary savings for taxpayers. It also offered immediate benefits, certainty and predictability for our public employees and retirees. We believe this proposal was fair for our public employees, retirees, taxpayers and cities and towns. It was also well-received by the various rating agencies.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.Due to a small group of union members the settlement agreement has failed and the mediation process has ended. We find this disappointing and frustrating.While we are disappointed this settlement was not ultimately able to come to fruition, we continue to believe that the pension changes enacted by our General Assembly are constitutional, the State has strong legal arguments to support its positions and will begin to prepare for litigation.”Background on RIRSA:The Rhode Island Retirement Security Act was enacted in November of 2011 by a vote of 52 to 15 in House of Representatives and by a vote of 36 to 2 in the Senate and moves the state forward by:- Allowing us to honestly tell our public employees that their retirement is secure- Immediately reducing the unfunded liability by about $3 billion- Saving Rhode Island taxpayers $4 billion over the next two decades- Saving cities and towns $1 billion over the next two decades- Ensuring that future pension costs are predictable and sustainable
"After the vote, I offered my congratulations to Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, and told him that I look forward to working with him, the new Majority Leader, the leadership team as well as the General Assembly on initiatives and issues that are important to Rhode Islanders. I commend the Rhode Island House of Representatives for ensuring that government continues to move forward and remains focused on key issues. By persisting in our efforts to support education and workforce development, build infrastructure, help cities and towns, and lower energy costs, together we have developed the necessary momentum for Rhode Island’s recovery."