A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has approved a settlement to end litigation against Rhode Island's state pension overhaul.
Associate Justice Sarah Taft-Carter on Tuesday issued the decision approving the proposed settlement following a five-day fairness hearing held in late May.
Ms. Taft-Carter wrote in her decision that, although the settlement is not a “perfect solution,” it is, however, “fair, reasonable and adequate.”
The settlement includes two one-time stipends payable to all current retirees; an increased cost-of-living adjustment cap for current retirees; and lowering the retirement age, which varies among participants depending on years of service.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, who proposed the reform in 2011 when she served as state treasurer, said in a statement the “decision approving the pension settlement is another important step toward providing certainty for our public employees and our cities and towns.”
Ms. Raimondo added: “This settlement is in the best long-term interests of all Rhode Islanders and will keep our state on a path toward financial stability, economic growth and job creation.”
The plaintiffs, which include public employee unions and retiree coalitions, sued to block the 2011 overhaul that created a hybrid plan, raised retirement ages and suspended cost-of-living increases for participants in the $8.3 billion Rhode Island Employees' Retirement System, Providence, as a cost-savings measure.
The lawsuit was the subject of closed-door mediation since 2012. The mediation process ended in April after a proposed settlement was rejected by members of the police union. A trial date had been set for April 20 but was canceled after a new proposed settlement agreement was announced.
Ms. Taft-Carter gave the proposed settlement preliminary approval on April 17.
The full decision is available on the state judiciary's website and below: