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Taveras set to reveal pitch to Providence retirees tomorrow

March 2, 2012

A new phase in the effort by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras to stabilize the city’s finances begins at 10 am tomorrow, when Taveras will address an as-yet unknown number of city retirees at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston.

Taveras spokesman David Ortiz says the city has invited all 4300 retirees for the meeting, which will be streamed lived on the city’s Web site:

We hope that as many retirees as possible show up in person, and that those who can’t show up will follow along on the Internet. It’s going to be a really good informative session, and the mayor’s hoping to reach out to every one of them.

Joseph F. Penza Jr., the lawyer for police and fire retirees, calls the get-together the first step in a longer dialogue.

“I don’t think anything’s going to be achieved tomorrow,” Penza says. “other than the city perhaps setting forth what its proposal will be. I’m sure they’re going to present the fiscal situation for the City of Providence . . .  I think [the meeting is] more fact-gathering, as opposed to [a] resolution being expected.”

Penza says he has no way of knowing how many of the 1200 police and fire retirees he represents will attend the meeting in Cranston:

We’re certainly interesting in helping out the city, probably not under the terms the mayor has laid out.

Due to the absence of a bargaining unit for the retirees, Penza says, there’s nothing that can bind each and every one of them in this matter. He says there’s some uncharted territory in how an agreement might eventually emerge:

If, for example, 90 percent of the people agreed, then the question would be, would the other 10 percent be able to fund the litigation? — because this is an expensive litigation.

Ortiz declined to elaborate on the specifics of Taveras’ proposal to the retirees.

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