State, City legislation would prevent collection of a public pension while serving a life sentence; City launches disability pension abuse hotline: 1-844-CAN-WORK.
Mayor Angel Taveras is proposing changes to state and city laws that enable convicted murderers and others serving a life sentence in prison to collect a disability pension.
Mayor Taveras' plan includes the introduction of state legislation and a new city ordinance to prevent individuals from collecting a public pension while serving a life sentence in prison.
"I share in the public's frustration that a convicted murderer is receiving a disability pension from the City of Providence," said Mayor Taveras. "We need to reform the laws that have allowed this to occur. And we must continue to take steps to protect our pension system for the City's deserving, hardworking retirees."
Mayor Taveras is supporting legislation at the Rhode Island General Assembly that would prevent individuals from collecting a public pension while serving a life sentence in prison. The bill's sponsors are Senators Maryellen Goodwin, Paul V. Jabour, Juan M. Pichardo and Joshua B. Miller. The legislation, Senate Bill No. 2773, was introduced on March 18, 2014 and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
Earlier today the City's Retirement Board voted unanimously to recommend the adoption of both the state legislation and a similar city ordinance drafted by the City Solicitor's Office. The ordinance is expected to be introduced at the next City Council meeting on April 3, 2014.
City Launches Disability Pension Abuse Hotline
Mayor Taveras and Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré also announced the launch of an anonymous disability pension abuse hotline. Citizens who know of or suspect abuse in the pension system are asked to call 1-844-CAN-WORK.
The tip line provides a confidential way for citizens to suggest suspected cases of disability fraud for review by the City. An example of disability fraud includes when an individual receives a disability pension but continues to work in a similar job that may suggest the individual no longer has a disabling injury.
"When a retired City employee misrepresents a disability, it unduly burdens our pension system," said Commissioner Paré. "We are asking for the public's help to stop disability fraud to protect the taxpayers of the City of Providence and our retirees."