Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is considering options on how to proceed with lawsuits brought over the state's landmark pension overhaul, he said Tuesday, a day after a proposed deal was rejected by members of police unions.
Chafee said the administration is analyzing the police vote and how to move forward. On Monday, lawyers for six groups that sued over the 2011 law announced the proposed settlement was rejected by police but approved by the other five groups: teachers, retirees, municipal workers, state workers and members of firefighter unions. A judge ordered the sides back into mediation.
When asked at a brief news conference Tuesday whether the state would be willing to settle with all the other groups and continue on with the litigation just with the police group or any other group that doesn't settle, Chafee responded: "There are various options; that might be one.
Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for the lawyers suing on behalf of unions and retirees, said that due to a court-imposed gag order, he can't comment on whether settling with some groups but not others would be an acceptable course.
Chafee noted that the police group represents a small percentage of the overall number of votes received, calling the group an outlier.
The police union group was the smallest of the six groups that voted on the settlement, making up less than 2 percent of those eligible to vote.