Already a vocal supporter of Gov. Lincoln Chafee's Municipal Reform & Relief bills, meant to help communities address ongoing pension crises, Mayor Joseph Polisena has scheduled a press conference with several other community leaders for Wednesday at 10 am at the .
In a press release issued just after 2 pm Tuesday, Polisena said he plans to offer each visiting official to "briefly address the media to explain
how their municipality will benefit from the proposed legislation submitted by
Mayor's Administrative Assistant Janet Whiteley confirmed that scheduled speakers include Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien; North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi; Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee; Lincoln Town Administrator Joseph Almond; Coventry Town Manager Thomas Hoover; and Scituate Town Administrator Paulette Hamilton and Town Councilor Michael Isaacs.
Recently earning a 5-0 vote from Johnston Town Councilors at their April meeting, which Chafee attended to testify in support of the legislation, the set of bills would allow cities and towns to:
- waive state mandates;
- suspend Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increases in pension payments; and
- keep past payments for school department deficits from becoming part of a town's bottom line in future budgets, among other authorities.
Polisena has spoken repeatedly about his support of Chafee's attempts to deal with the continuing problems with communities underfunding their pension systems for what the bill's supporters, like the Johnston mayor, have said are financially unsustainable retirement payments.
The State House Finance Committee is scheduled to take up the measures on Thursday afternoon, Apr. 26, beginning at 1 pm, the statement noted.
Watch JohnstonPatch tomorrow for coverage of this event.
Note: This article was updated after first publication to include the scheduled speakers.