Receiver wants concessions from Central Falls retirees

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Robert Flanders, the state-appointed receiver for Central Falls, said Tuesday he needs retirees to sacrifice to keep the city afloat.

The city has a $5 million budget hole next year and an $80 million pension bill.

“We have a very rich health care plan currently for our pensioners and others. So, we need to come up with a more modest version — one more in line with what other public employees are getting rather than a gold-plated version that is now in force,” Flanders said.

Without state help or concessions from retirees, he said the city will go into bankruptcy.

“Anywhere from mid-July to the end of the summer in terms of having to come to some closure on this one way or the other,” Flanders said.

According to attorney Steven Boyajian, federal bankruptcy gives the state-appointed receiver additional power.

“Employees, retirees who assumed that working for a city and town gave them essentially an iron-clad promise of benefits or employment, that is not the case under Chapter 9,” Boyajian said.

Flanders said if negotiations fail, Chapter 9 bankruptcy may be the best option.

“I think this is actually an opportunity for the city to put itself in a much better position. I don’t view bankruptcy necessarily as a bad thing. It’s a good thing. For the city, it’s potentially a fresh start,” Flanders said. 

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