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Governor, Treasurer Partner to Work Toward Pension Solution

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and General Treasurer Gina M. Raimondo today announced their partnership to work through the summer to craft a comprehensive solution for state pension system reform. In an effort to keep the community and all stakeholders involved during this process a comment period and advisory group were also launched.

“There is no greater issue facing Rhode Island than fixing the pension problem once and for all,” Governor Chafee said. “We must work collaboratively and honestly, with all parties at the table, to reach a solution that ensures the future prosperity of our state for our children and grandchildren. I look forward to working with the General Treasurer, the General Assembly, and other stakeholders to achieve passage of comprehensive legislation in a special session of the legislature this fall.”

“Rhode Islanders must take action and engage on this issue as much as possible, because this issue affects everyone,” Treasurer Raimondo said. “By partnering together, the Governor and I will work to solve a problem that has plagued our state for far too long.”

As part of the Secure Path RI initiative, the Treasurer is partnering with the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business Administration to help collect and organize ideas from constituents for pension system reform. Ideas for reform may be entered through the Secure Path RI website or by mailing

Secure Path RI – Constituent Ideas
University of Rhode Island
College of Business
7 Lippitt Road
Kingston, RI 02881

“The College of Business Administration is happy to be assisting with this important initiative,” said Mark Higgins, Dean of the College of Business Administration at URI. “We are pleased, as the state’s flagship university, to help on an issue that affects all Rhode Islanders.”

The 12 member voluntary group is an advisory body that includes local and national experts on pension reform from business, academia and labor. The charge of the group is to vet and organize information for the Governor and Treasurer as they work to develop a comprehensive solution to submit to the General Assembly in October for the special session on pension reform.

The group will help foster honest dialogue about the real sacrifices that will be required to re-design a system that

  • Attracts quality employees
  • Provides a level of security for its retirees
  • Preserves funding for public services
  • Protects taxpayers

Advisory Group participants

Ernest A. Almonte is the chief executive officer of the Almonte Group LLC, a fraud and public finance accounting firm. He is the former Auditor General of the State of Rhode Island, a position he held from 1994 to 2010. As Auditor General, he was responsible for auditing of the $7 billion State Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the $3 billion Federal Single Audit, Municipal Oversight, Performance Audits, Fraud Audits, and oversight of quasi-public agencies. He has over 30 years experience in the accounting profession. He holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, a Master of Science in Taxation Degree, and an honorary Doctor of Business Administration from Bryant University. Mr. Almonte is a graduate of the Senior Executives in State and Local Government and Innovations in Governance at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Robert A. DiMuccio, is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Amica Mutual Insurance Company. Mr. DiMuccio began his career with the accounting firm KPMG Peat Marwick, where he worked for 12 years and earned the position of partner. He joined Amica in 1991 as a vice president in the accounting department. In 1994 he was promoted to senior vice president, and in 1996 he was given the additional title of treasurer. In 2001 DiMuccio was named chief financial officer. He was named executive vice president in 2003, and president and chief executive officer in 2005. He was named the company's chairman in 2008. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, the Institute for Business and Home Safety, the Property Loss Research Bureau, and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. He also serves as an executive committee member for the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Rhode Island School of Design. He graduated from Providence College in 1979 with an accounting degree.

J. Michael Downey is the president of Rhode Island Council 94, AFSCME, AFL-CIO. He also serves as president of the largest local in RI Council 94, Local 528 which represents workers at the University of Rhode Island. He also serves on the state AFL-CIO executive board, is a board member of the Rhode Island Institute of Labor Studies and serves as chair of the Tax Assessment Review Board in Charlestown. Downey is employed as a plumber at URI and holds a master plumber’s license.

Bill Foulkes is a strategic planning consultant, entrepreneur, and currently a faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has been on the executive team of several companies, including MTI Group Holdings and Context Media, both in Rhode Island. Prior to joining these firms, he was a strategy consultant at Telesis, a division of Towers Perrin, where, among many other assignments, he developed a strategy for Towers’ actuarial-based business lines. Bill’s experience also includes consumer product marketing at Gillette and investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Bill graduated from Harvard College and has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Allan W. Fung is the Mayor of Cranston. Since taking office in January 2009, Mayor Fung has reduced the city’s operational expenses and continues to explore consolidation and other savings initiatives with other municipalities. He was the first Rhode Island mayor to successfully negotiate pension reform with a major union by replacing the costly defined benefits pension system with a defined contribution plan. Prior to becoming mayor, he was government relations counsel for MetLife from 2001-2009, a prosecutor in the RI Department of Attorney General from 1999-2001 and a litigation associate with Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair from 1996-1999. Mayor Fung serves as Vice-President for the RI League of Cities and Towns and also Chairman of its Legislative Committee. Mayor Fung graduated from Rhode Island College and Suffolk University Law School and also completed the Leadership Rhode Island program.

Mark Higgins is the Dean and The Alfred J. Verrecchia-Hasbro Inc. Leadership Chair in Business at the University of Rhode Island. Prior to his tenure at URI, he was a Tax Manager for Ernst and Young (formerly Arthur Young) in New York City. He is currently President of the American Taxation Association. Mark serves on the Executive Committee of the American Accounting Association as Vice President for Sections and Regions. He is the co-author with Kevin Murphy of Concepts in Taxation which is in its 14th edition. His research has been published in the Journal of Accounting Education, Critical Perspectives in Accounting, The Accounting Historians Journal, Advances in Accounting Education: Teaching and Curriculum Innovations, The CPA Journal, Practical Tax Strategies, The Tax Adviser, and Tax Notes. His research has been featured in The Boston Globe and The Providence Journal. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and is a CPA. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Accounting from the University of South Carolina.

Philip M. Keefe is the president of State Employees International Union Local 580, the second largest state employees union in Rhode Island, as well as vice president of the State Council which represents state employees and the private sector. He has worked for the state of Rhode Island for 27 years in the Department of Children Youth and Families. He is graduated from Providence College in 1982.

Richard Licht is the director of the Rhode Island Department of Administration. Prior to joining state government he was a partner at Adler Pollock & Sheehan and at Tillinghast Licht LLP. He has also held two elected offices including, Rhode Island State Senator, Lieutenant Governor of Rhode Island. He served as chair of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

John Maguire is the president of the North Providence Federation of Teachers and treasurer of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals. He is also a member of the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island Retirement Board and a member of the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/ Blue Shield of Rhode Island. He taught English at North Providence High School for 38 years and retired in June 2009. He holds a Bachelors and masters degree from Providence College.

Alicia H.Munnell is the Peter F. Drucker Professor of Management Sciences at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Before joining Boston College in 1997, Munnell was a Member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers (1995-1997) and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy (1993-1995) under President Bill Clinton. Previously, she spent 20 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (1973-1993), where she became Senior Vice President and Director of Research in 1984. Munnell was co-founder and first President of the National Academy of Social Insurance and is currently a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the Pension Research Council at Wharton. She is a member of the Board of The Century Foundation, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Pension Rights Center. Munnell earned her B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.A. from Boston University, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Robert A. Walsh, Jr. is the Executive Director of NEARI and also currently serves as a trustee of the NEA Retirement Plan and chair of the plan’s Investment Committee. He joined NEARI in 1992 after a decade in banking and finance. In addition to his work at NEARI, Bob currently serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the labor coalition Working Rhode Island, and previously served on the boards of numerous other organizations, including Ocean State Action, Waterfire Providence and Leadership Rhode Island. His past government service includes serving as Chairman of the Providence Water Supply Board, and as a member of the House Commission to Study the Rhode Island State Pension System and Governor Carcieri’s Pension Commission and Tax Policy Strategy Workgroup. He graduated with degrees in Political Science and Organizational Behavior and Management from Brown University and received his Master of Science in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Rhode Island.

Harry Wilson is the Chairman, CEO and founder of MAEVA Advisors. Currently, at the request of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and with the support of management and the company’s lenders, MAEVA has been playing a key role in the restructuring of YRC Worldwide, the nation’s largest trucking company. He has also worked as an investor at some of the nation’s top financial firms, working primarily to help improve troubled companies. In 2009, Wilson served as a Senior Advisor in the United States Department of the Treasury. He worked as one of the four leaders of the Auto Task Force, responsible for the Treasury’s role in the restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler. Wilson led a team that was responsible for the business and financial work of the Task Force and also led a team overseeing the restructuring of General Motors, the largest turnaround in American history. Wilson and his team worked closely with management, the UAW and the Administration to develop a new financial and operating plan that has delivered unprecedented profitability to General Motors since its implementation. Wilson worked primarily at The Blackstone Group and Silver Point Capital, where he was a partner. Wilson has an A.B. in government from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Related links

Department or agency: RI Office of the General Treasurer

Online: http://www.treasury.ri.gov/

Release date: 06-15-2011

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