UPDATED: Chafee, General Assembly Leaders Weigh in on Central Falls
Friday, December 17, 2010
“We are now in the process of reading and digesting his very comprehensive report and appendices,” said Chafee spokesman Mike Trainor. “We are of course very concerned about the situation and we will not rule out any of the options Judge (Mark) Pfeiffer laid out on the table.”
Pfeiffer also said the city could consider adopting a new charter and regionalize some of its services with surrounding communities. He suggested reforms in the pension system, union contracts, and other areas as well.
House Speaker Gordon Fox released a statement this afternoon saying he couldn’t yet commit to how the House would respond, but said the many issues raised in the report would be “fully vetted in public hearings.” Fox said his most immediate concern was addressing the city’s short-term financial troubles.
Fox’s full statement:
“I am grateful for the work done to date by Judge Pfeiffer and state officials, and I was briefed by them yesterday on the latest developments. I look forward to reviewing the report in much greater detail and working with Governor-elect Chafee and my General Assembly colleagues to tackle this extremely serious problem. While I can’t yet make a commitment on how the House will respond, I think that many issues raised in the report deserve to be fully vetted in public hearings early in the new session.
“The most immediate concern is to address the Central Falls’ troubles in the short term by setting out a path leading to fiscal stability. While some may look at this as a local issue, it has serious ramifications at the state level. The long-term viability of local governments is critical to the state’s economic well-being.”
Other Assembly leaders react
Other leaders of the General Assembly also issued statements yesterday in response to the receiver’s report:
Senate M. Teresa Paiva Weed: “Judge Pfeiffer’s report highlights the alarming fiscal concerns for the City of Central Falls. However, Central Falls is only one of several communities facing significant fiscal challenges. This is an opportunity to find and craft long term solutions for cities and towns, particularly as they pertain to underfunded municipal pension programs. The Senate’s Municipal Pension Study Commission has been actively engaged in this issue, and this will be a priority for the Senate in the upcoming legislative session. The Senate agrees that there is a need for swift but prudent action by the State, and will work with Governor-elect Chafee through the budget process to craft solutions that address our municipalities’ fiscal challenges.”
House Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello: “The recommendations contained in this report merit strong consideration and extensive study. I would encourage local input and involvement from the communities before any final decision is reached to resolve this financial crisis in Central Falls. Our cities and towns are very important to the stability of the state and we are determined to examine all opportunities to strengthen their financial well-being.”
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