Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter, in a decision released Tuesday afternoon, approved the proposed settlement of Rhode Island's pension conflict.
The judge's action clears the way for the General Assembly to approve the pension deal, the last step needed for the settlement to go into effect. Taft-Carter recently held a multi-day hearing during which some current employees and retirees urged her to reject the settlement.
But the judge ruled that the deal meets the necessary legal standard for it to go forward.
"The 2015 Settlement Agreement is not being offered as a perfect solution, nor is perfection required of it under the law ...." Taft-Carter writes in her 69-page ruling. "Accordingly, in light of the aforementioned factors and having given the terms of the 2015 Settlement Agreement and the objections raised by the Class Members a thorough and independent review, the Court is satisfied that the 2015 Settlement Agreement is fair, adequate, and reasonable."
The settlement would preserve about 90 percent of the savings from the 2011 pension overhaul spearheaded by Governor Gina Raimondo, who was state treasurer at the time.
The General Assembly is expected to approve the pension settlement before ending its session in mid-June. It will end most of the legal challenges to the 2011 overhaul.