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Fung Challenges Chafee, Raimondo to "Come Clean" on Pension Deal

Mayor and gubernatorial candidate says mayors, town administrators and public left in the dark during closed-door negotiations.

Cranston Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Allan W. Fung is challenging state leaders engaged in closed-door talks on potential changes to the state pension plan to "come clean" and tell voters what's really going on.

“After months of closed-door meetings and negotiations, Members of the General Assembly have been briefed, a press conference has been scheduled, and rumors and speculation are rampant – it’s past time to let local officials in on the secret,” Fung said.  

Fung also said local officials like himself have been kept in the dark during the process. A press conference that was scheduled for Wednesday and mayors and town administrators were to be briefed on the proposal after that planned press conference. Fung said said it was "unconscionable" for the governor and general treasurer to schedule things that way.

"The whole process has been shrouded in secrecy.  I find it unfortunate that not one mayor or town administrator was included in any discussions.  Further, there was no opportunity for public debate, when as we know, the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill.  Rhode Island needs leadership on this issue and I urge the Governor and General Treasurer to permit an honest public discussion of any proposal,” Fung said.

Here's the complete text of the mayor's statement: 

Mayor Allan Fung today challenged Governor Chafee and Treasurer Raimondo to come clean with local officials and taxpayers regarding their proposed changes to the state pension plan that were negotiated in secret.

“After months of closed-door meetings and negotiations, Members of the General Assembly have been briefed, a press conference has been scheduled, and rumors and speculation are rampant – it’s past time to let local officials in on the secret,” reacted Fung.  Fung also pointed to speculation that the State Retirement Board also may meet in secret tomorrow to avoid public scrutiny when its members learn of the proposal and a briefing for mayors and town administrators has been scheduled to take place after a planned press conference on Wednesday.  “Cities and Towns throughout Rhode Island are struggling with one fiscal crisis after another and it is unconscionable for the Governor and General Treasurer to plan a press conference while keeping local officials in the dark,” continued Fung.

“Pension reform legislation was approved overwhelmingly by the General Assembly and enacted by the Governor after a lengthy public debate.  Any proposed changes must undergo the same public scrutiny and both taxpayers and beneficiaries must understand the implications of the proposed changes.  Any attempt to undermine the fiscal integrity of the pension fund or to increase the burden on taxpayers without the same public scrutiny would epitomize politics as usual and the type of short-sighted and politically expedient behavior that helped to bring about our pension crisis in the first place,” continued Fung.

"The whole process has been shrouded in secrecy.  I find it unfortunate that not one mayor or town administrator was included in any discussions.  Further, there was no opportunity for public debate, when as we know, the taxpayers are the ones footing the bill.  Rhode Island needs leadership on this issue and I urge the Governor and General Treasurer to permit an honest public discussion of any proposal,” continued Fung.

Over the past several weeks, Fung has voiced opposition to any pension proposal that would increase the immediate cost to Rhode Island taxpayers or weaken the long-term health and stability of the Rhode Island pension system.  “The pending litigation holds tremendous implications for Rhode Island, but we must not allow any proposal to undermine the benefits of this law to both the taxpayers of Rhode Island and the long-term health of the state pension fund,” concluded Fung. 

dphs18 February 12, 2014 at 03:09 PM
This is RI, all the deals happen in the backroom behind the curtain. That is how things are done in RI and that is the way the citizens want it. Why else would they keep re-electing all these clowns in the state house.

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