providence

Providence’s troubled city pension fund, in three charts

October 1st, 2014 at 3:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The sizable shortfall in Providence’s pension system for retired city workers has become a major topic of discussion in this year’s race for mayor, with facts and figures flying fast and furious.

To help you sort out facts from fiction, here are three charts that give an overview of the city pension fund’s finances over the last two decades under three mayors: Buddy Cianci (1991-2002), David Cicilline (2003-2011) and Angel Taveras (2011-present). The numbers come from the annual city audit.

First off, here’s a look at what’s called the “unfunded liability” in the pension fund – the official shortfall between how much the city has socked away and how much it would need to pay out promised benefits in full, as reported by the city’s actuary. For a variety of reasons, the shortfall grew from $137 million in 1991 to $759 million in 2012. (The latest audit isn’t out yet, but the shortfall rose to $832 million in 2013.)

Providence unfunded pension liability 1991 2012

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Tonight at 7 on Fox Providence – Cianci vs. Elorza vs. Harrop

September 30th, 2014 at 1:11 pm by under Nesi's Notes


WPRI 12/Journal Poll: Buddy Cianci on top for mayor

September 23rd, 2014 at 5:43 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. has a small lead over Jorge Elorza six weeks ahead of the election to replace Mayor Angel Taveras, but many voters are still undecided, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely voters in Providence shows independent Cianci on top at 38%, with Democrat Elorza in second place at 32% and Republican Daniel Harrop a distant third at 6%. Roughly one in five Providence voters – 21% – said they remain undecided about the Nov. 4 election for mayor.

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• Interactive: Dig into complete results of the September WPRI 12/Journal poll

Coming at 10 p.m., more poll results on city voters’ mood; at 4:30 a.m., their take on Cianci’s convictions.


Police, fire unions endorse Cianci for Providence mayor

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence’s two public safety unions have both endorsed former Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. in his bid to return to City Hall.

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Mayor Taveras: ‘Nothing left to negotiate’ on teachers pact

September 23rd, 2014 at 8:30 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Outgoing Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said Monday he refuses to saddle his successor with “an unreasonable labor contract” for city teachers, the latest shot across the bow in an escalating conflict between his administration and the union.

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RI transplants Regunberg, Gyles vying to succeed Fox

September 22nd, 2014 at 6:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Aaron Regunberg moved to Providence from Chicago in 2008 to attend Brown University and quickly became known as a progressive rabble-rouser who fought for healthier school lunches, helped elect Angel Taveras mayor and organized high-school students against standardized testing.

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• Related: Six months later, Gordon Fox probe moving forward (Sept. 22)


Watch Newsmakers: Buddy Cianci on his run and his record

September 21st, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Taveras: I’ll do ‘everything I can’ to help Elorza beat Cianci

September 18th, 2014 at 10:22 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras said Wednesday he plans to do “everything I can” to ensure that city government remains “free of corruption” by helping Democrat Jorge Elorza defeat Buddy Cianci in the race to lead Rhode Island’s capital city.

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Elorza, Harrop take aim at Cianci during mayoral forum

September 18th, 2014 at 10:21 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – This one got ugly in a hurry.

The first candidate forum between Providence mayoral hopefuls Jorge Elorza, Daniel Harrop and Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. quickly turned into a war of words Wednesday, as Elorza and Harrop took turns attacking Cianci over his indiscretions during his two prior tenures as mayor and Cianci fired back with criticism of his own.

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East Side secured Elorza win in Providence mayor primary

September 11th, 2014 at 11:55 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

While opponent Jorge Elorza was racking up votes on the East Side and the two Democrats were running close to even on the South Side, Michael Solomon’s base in the Mount Pleasant, Elmhurst and the Charles neighborhoods didn’t turn out to vote in numbers that would offset Elorza’s dominating performance across the city, according to a WPRI.com review of pre-mail-ballot voting tallies. In the end, Solomon won the rest of the city, but Elorza’s big East Side haul was enough to secure the victory citywide.

Around 9:45 p.m., Solomon called Elorza to concede the race. Fifteen minutes later, Elorza was ushered in a backdoor at Fete nightclub in Olneyville, the site of his victory party. While more than 150 supporters celebrated in the ballroom area, Elorza shared a moment with his closest supporters backstage. He hugged his campaign manager Marisa O’Gara, who left her position in the Taveras administration earlier this year to work for Elorza.

By 10:15, Brett Smiley, the East Side Democrat whose decision to exit the race and endorse Elorza likely helped Elorza win so heavily in Wards 1, 2, and 3, was introducing the Democratic nominee for mayor of Providence.

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Solomon, Elorza battle in heated mayoral debate

August 29th, 2014 at 8:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The leading Democratic candidates for mayor of Providence lobbed criticism at one another throughout a contentious debate Friday, while each made the case that the city can’t afford to elect independent candidate Buddy Cianci in the November election.

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• Related: Watch the full Elorza-Solomon debate on WPRI 12′s Newsmakers (Aug. 29)


Elorza campaign copied letter from Central Falls mayor

August 28th, 2014 at 11:16 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza is blaming a “former advisor” for drafting a letter on his behalf using language that is nearly identical to a letter that was sent in 2012 by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa.

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Elorza pitches citywide arts festival for Providence

August 28th, 2014 at 8:12 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza said Thursday he wants Providence to host a week-long arts and cultural festival modeled after the popular South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas.

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Smiley wants to be the ‘best pothole filler’ ever in city

August 21st, 2014 at 5:34 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley says he wants to be the “best chief pothole filler the city has ever seen.”

Smiley, a Democrat, unveiled a plan Thursday to create a cabinet-level position that would oversee road repairs and prevent utility companies from cutting into newly surfaced roads, a chronic complaint from City Council members and residents.

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Major city unions won’t endorse mayoral candidate before primary

August 18th, 2014 at 9:32 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The four major public employee unions in Rhode Island’s capital city are unlikely to endorse a candidate for mayor before next month’s Democratic primary, a sign they are willing to give independent Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. a second look before making a decision.

The heads of the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, firefighters union Local 799, Providence Teachers Union and Local 1033 of the Laborers’ International Union all told WPRI.com last week they don’t expect their members to throw their support behind Michael Solomon, Jorge Elorza or Brett Smiley before primary voters head to the polls Sept. 9.

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At fundraiser, Buddy Cianci warns of ‘negative campaign’

August 5th, 2014 at 5:54 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. told a group of supporters Monday that he’s expecting a long, “negative campaign” from well-funded opponents in the coming months as he seeks a return to City Hall.

Cianci’s comments came during a $1,000-a-head fundraiser at Al Forno Restaurant on South Main Street. The 73-year-old independent drew applause from several dozen donors and supporters as he laid out his vision for Providence during an 11-minute speech, but he also warned that an independent expenditure group is preparing to “go against us big time.”

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Cianci lists income sources, real estate portfolio in new filing

August 4th, 2014 at 5:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. drew income from commentary gigs with WPRO-AM and WLNE-TV as well as various speaking engagements in 2013, according to his first public financial disclosure filing since he left office in 2002.

The new filing with the state Ethics Commission also shows Cianci owns two lucrative pieces of commercial real estate in Providence and Warwick – he leases one to Women and Infants Hospital – as well as a residential property on Chalkstone Avenue.

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Mayoral candidates Smiley, Elorza at odds over municipal income tax

August 4th, 2014 at 3:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic mayoral candidate Jorge Elorza said Monday a new YouTube video that shows him expressing support for a municipal income tax in Providence “was intentionally edited to mislead voters.”

The 44-second video, released Sunday by primary opponent Brett Smiley, shows Elorza telling the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of America that he is “very much in support of a municipal income tax.” The group later endorsed Elorza’s bid for mayor.

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Providence police union blasts Taveras on cop staffing

July 31st, 2014 at 4:01 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The police union in Rhode Island’s capital city said Thursday it is protesting the Taveras administration “for their lack of foresight with the Providence Police Department manpower shortages.”

In a letter written by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 president Taft Manzotti and four other officials, the union said the force “has been diminished to numbers that have not been seen since the late 1970s.” The letter goes on to criticize Taveras for not purchasing any new vehicles during his tenure until April and handicapping the force with an outdated computer system.

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Providence pension investments beat state’s again

July 25th, 2014 at 5:02 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence pension fund’s investment performance beat the state’s once again in the fiscal year that just ended, and it wasn’t particularly close.

The City of Providence Employee Retirement System’s roughly $272-million portfolio earned 17.5% during the 12-month fiscal year that ended June 30. The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island’s roughly $8.2-billion portfolio earned 15.1% over the same period.

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Providence pension lawsuit looming, trial this fall

July 24th, 2014 at 10:09 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A pending lawsuit by a group of retirees over changes to Providence’s pension system could cost the city more than $11 million over 10 years if the retirees prevail, according to data reviewed by the Target 12 Investigators.

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Providence mayoral hopefuls Solomon, Smiley at odds on crime

July 23rd, 2014 at 1:22 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The gloves are coming off in the Providence mayor’s race. And it has nothing to do with Buddy Cianci.

After Michael Solomon unveiled his public safety plan Wednesday, Democratic primary opponent Brett Smiley criticized Solomon for not doing enough to address crime during his two terms on the City Council.

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Eastside Marketplace sold to Stop & Shop’s owner

July 22nd, 2014 at 10:41 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Scott Laurans, the longtime owner of Eastside Marketplace, told WPRI.com on Tuesday that Ahold USA, the American division of Royal Ahold NV, has bought the local grocery store’s holding company, ESM Inc.

Eastside Marketplace will retain its name and be operated as a separate division of Ahold USA, he said.

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Watch Executive Suite: WaterFire creator Barnaby Evans

July 21st, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


GOP’s Harrop wants Providence to enter receivership

July 18th, 2014 at 10:03 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – His message: “Vote for me and we’ll put Providence into receivership.”

It’s not the most conventional campaign slogan, but Republican mayoral candidate Daniel Harrop claims it’s the only cure for a city facing a massive unfunded pension liability, crippling tax rates and a crumbling infrastructure because of “Buddy Cianci’s incompetence and Democratic inaction.”

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Providence council could tie tax breaks to minimum wage increase

July 17th, 2014 at 2:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Recipients of special tax breaks in Rhode Island’s capital city would be required to pay employees at least 125% of the state’s minimum wage, under an ordinance set to be introduced at a City Council meeting Thursday night.

Rhode Island’s minimum wage will grow to $9 an hour beginning Jan. 1, meaning developers or businesses seeking tax stabilization agreements from the city would be required to pay workers at least $11.25 to qualify for a reduced tax rate, according to City Councilman John Igliozzi. Wages would increase as the minimum wage goes up.

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Rep. Hull backs Smiley in Providence mayor’s race

July 16th, 2014 at 12:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence mayoral candidate Brett Smiley picked up his first significant endorsement outside of the city’s East Side Wednesday, winning the support of State Rep. Ray Hull, who represents part of the vote-rich 5th ward in Mount Pleasant and Elmhurst.

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City Council overrides Taveras veto of landlord tax cut

July 14th, 2014 at 6:37 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Landlords in Rhode Island’s capital city will get their tax break, after all.

The Providence City Council voted Monday to override Mayor Angel Taveras’s veto of an ordinance that reduces the tax rate for rental property owners, but could force the next mayor to raise taxes on homeowners across the city to pay for it.

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Lorne Adrain drops out of Providence mayor’s race

July 14th, 2014 at 1:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The race for Providence mayor is shrinking.

Lorne Adrain, who considered running for the city’s top job as a Democrat before making a last-minute decision to run as an independent, said Monday he is pulling out of race, the clearest sign yet that liberal-minded Providence residents could attempt to rally behind one candidate in the race against former Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr.

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Watch Executive Suite: Joe Paolino; Beaudoin and Kishfy

July 14th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes