Firefighters target Raimondo as architect of pension changes
As state Treasurer Gina Raimondo gets set to hold a football-themed fundraiser at Rick’s Roadhouse this evening, here’s a copy of the rally-the-troops email sent out by the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters:
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo will be holding a fundraiser this coming Monday, December 12 from 6-8pm in Providence. The State Association is asking ALL off-duty members to attend a picket for this event. Remember, this is the person who orchestrated the sweeping changes to our pension and she has made it very clear that she wants even more. It is also very likely that she will be making a run for the governor’s seat next election. Past pickets at her events have been extremely successful, and this one should be no different. Please try to attend ….
The email asks firefighters taking part in the protest to assemble between 5 and 5:30 pm.
In an interview, Paul Valletta Jr., president of the Cranston firefighters’ union and a lobbyist for the state Association of Firefighters, says the protest is meant to send a message to Raimondo:
“It’s just our way of saying that we haven’t forgotten what took place with the pension changes and the negative effect it had not just on firefighters, but many working Rhode Islanders.”
Valletta says he’s not sure how many firefighters will take part in the protest, but he’s hoping for hundreds.
He says firefighters recognized the need for pension changes, but didn’t have a real chance, despite hours of legislative hearings, to negotiate changes to the overhaul made into law last year.
Valletta says he stands by his controversial remark accusing Raimondo of “cooking the books” by leading a charge to lower the state pension plan’s expected rate of return, and increasing projections for life expectancy.
Raimondo’s spokeswoman, Joy Fox, didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Valletta says he expects more protests against Raimondo in the future:
“You know, you have to keep this alive that these people’s lives were impacted like they were and they didn’t have to be.”