WOONSOCKET – The Budget Commission Tuesday afternoon unanimously approved a resolution to move forward with key portions of the five-year plan to wipe out the deficit, including sweeping rollbacks in pensions and post-retirement benefits for retirees.
The night before, in a non-binding vote, the City Council offered lukewarm support for the plan, approving the resolution on a split vote of 3-2. Two other members abstained, citing conflicts of interest.
While the Budget Commission offered little discussion prior to approving the resolution Tuesday, the City Council discussed the matter at length Monday night.
The Council’s action came after several members of the City Council questioned the overall five-year plan the state Budget Commission and also criticized the short period of time some retirees will have to decide their participation in a benefits restructuring component.
The resolution seeks to make the changes in the absence of agreements with the city’s collective bargaining units that provide the desired changes in some other manner.
The restructuring plan includes the freezing of retiree cost of living adjustments (COLAs), the enrollment of eligible employees receiving Blue Cross coverage in Medicare and supplemental insurance plans, and the movement of employees not yet eligible for Medicare and supplemental coverage to a uniform healthcare plan with related co-payment savings for the city.
Read more in Wednesday's print edition of The Call.