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What Will AG Candidates Do About Pension Abuse?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

 

Every candidate for Attorney General is weighing in after a GoLocalProv investigation found that former Johnston fire chief Victor Cipriano is earning more money from his disability pension that he did on the job—a violation of state law.

Each candidate is promising to crack down on pension abuse.

Democratic candidate Joe Fernandez called for the establishment of the first-ever State and Local Government Corruption Unit, which would investigate pension abuse as well as other forms of corruption.

“Taking on corruption at the municipal level is one of the key reasons why Joe is running for Attorney General,” said campaign manager Dan Herkert. “Corruption, in any form, is a hidden tax on Rhode Islanders, and it’s one of the factors holding back those who might want to start or expand a business in Rhode Island.”

As a city solicitor in Providence, Fernandez moved to revoke the pension of former police Chief Urbano Prignano, Jr., after he was forced to resign amid a scandal. 

Kilmartin Calls on Cities and Towns To Review Pensions

Democrat Peter Kilmartin called on all cities and towns to review all of their pensions to make sure they are in compliance with state law. If elected, he said he would create a Pension Review Office which would evaluate city and town pensions to make sure they followed the law.

“Any potential abuses should be brought to local or state police law enforcement for further investigation and violations brought to the Office of Attorney General for prosecution,” said Kilmartin, a retired Pawtucket police captain. “Pension abuse and violations of pension law are an affront to overburdened taxpayers and to all those who served and retired honorably,” he added.

Candidate Proposes 24-Hour Hotline for Tips on Corruption

Republican Erik Wallin would set up a public corruption task force that would have three prosecutors, a forensic auditor, and a 24-hour hotline for citizens with tips on pension fraud and other corruption anywhere in the state.

“We cannot afford the political insiders making sweet heart deals which literally line the pockets of their friends, family and politically connected with the money of hard working Rhode Islanders,” Wallin said.

“Pension fraud may very well place into jeopardy the solvency of pension funds creating a situation in which everyone's future benefits are at risk,” Wallin added.  “Furthermore, every tax payer is impacted should they be called upon to pay for unfunded portions of existing funds through property taxes or assessments.”

Two other candidates—Democrat Steve Archambault and Chris Little, of the Moderate Party—said that the Attorney General should work more closely with cities and towns to investigate pension abuse.

“I will proactively open up direct lines of communication with municipal retirement boards and the state retirement board as well as mayors, town administrators and municipal attorneys in order to aggressively seek information about any suspicious pension arrangements,” Archambault said. “I will prosecute pension fraud to the fullest extent of the law.”

Little said pension fraud was one reason the retirement system has become so costly—and the public so cynical. “Clearly, this is important – because it will protect and preserve taxpayers’ money, and because such action can help restore badly needed faith in government,” Little said.

‘Rhode Islanders are sick and tired’

Robert Rainville said his status as an independent candidate uniquely qualifies him to handle cases of corruption. He said he would hire as many investigators as possible—and would not wait for towns and cities to start their own investigations. 

“Rhode Islanders are sick and tired of one example after another of the same old stories of politically influenced pension abuse, and Attorney General Rainville will not tolerate that anymore,” Rainville said. “Pension abuse and any other form of public corruption are extremely serious issues that we as Rhode Islanders need to work on preventing.”

 

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Comments:

What did past attorneys general do about this kind of thing? Nothing and the reason is they usually get hamstrung by some vague, passed behind closed door at 2:00AM law passed by the General Assembly. There are more sweetheart deals, in this state, than there are people and there hasn't been anything done about them What makes this time so different?

Patrick Lynch was supposed to be a go-getter and we didn't hear a peep, from him, until he tried to run for governor. Then we couldn't shut him up.

Politicians, public service unions are starting to see the plight of the average "Joe Citizen", but you can bet when the economy turns around they will start pecking away at our bones even more voraciously than in the past. These deals will continue, unhindered. Why, because we let them.

We have Ethics Commissions that are a joke. In essence it's the fox making sure the hen house is safe. A General Assembly that hordes its power and doles it out like the monarchy we have let them become.

The answer is to let the state go broke, declare bankruptcy and nullify all contracts. Let the elitists, we the voters created, see what it's like here in the real world. For 45 years, before I retired, I did more work by accident than most of these freeloaders do on purpose. All I got was a lousy $450.00/month pension with NO MEDICAL coverage.

I am a vet and even then I have to pay for most of my services. All the time I'm trying to afford this I have to pay to support bums like this guy? What's wrong with this picture folks?

No, these new candidates will be no better than what has gone before.

Comment #1 by Mike Hamel on 2010 08 12

"What Will AG Candidates Do About Pension Abuse?" Absolutely nothing. No-show government jobs, followed by bloated pension benefits, are the life-blood of Rhode Island politics and government.

Comment #2 by Randal Williams on 2010 08 12

New rules and regulations are useless if they are not enforced. The existing plan is to have town council sign off on pension agreement and it is not being done.

My suggesion is; have the lady from the DMV get involved. If you do not have all the necessary paperwork in order you go back and get it done. I would think a pension agreement would warrant as much scrutiny as registering a pick up truck. How are these contracts binding if they were not submitted properly? Accountability is the key element here.

Comment #3 by Mark A. Markrush on 2010 08 12

I think you have to have those in charge, like the democrats in the general assmebly, admit there is corruption, abuse or just plain unsustainable activity going on in the pension system. They can tweek little things to say they've taken action but nothing really changes. And besides, any democrat elected to AG won't bite the hand that has fed him.

Comment #4 by David Beagle on 2010 08 12




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