Frank Williams announced the Pension Deal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Frank Williams, a retired Rhode Island Supreme Court chief justice who worked to broker a settlement, announced the deal in state court in Providence Thursday. He called it an «awesome achievement, shortly before Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter convened a court session to hear motions in the trial.

The settlement proposal includes cost-of-living increases and one-time stipends.

Retirees and unions sued over higher retirement ages and cuts to cost-of-living increases that were designed to save the state $4 billion over 20 years.

The deal, that may close the legal war over the more than $4 billion in public employee pension-cutbacks, will require legislative approval.

«I’m very pleased to report we have succeeded in resolving all but two cases,» Williams told the court. «This is an awesome, awesome achievement.»

The deal immediately puts on hold the trial, which was scheduled to begin April 20. However if the implementation of the settlement fails, Taft-Carter said the trial could possibly resume in June.

Williams says the resolutions affect about 59,000 past and present state employees. He says two unions that didn’t agree as of this time represent about 800 police officers and firefighters 

We have a settlement agreement with most of the parties,” Raimondo said. “Yes, there’s work to do, so we just have to commit ourselves to continuing the process and doing it right.”

Magaziner agreed.

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