BOSTON – April 22, 2015 – Angel Taveras, a shareholder in Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Boston office and former Providence, Rhode Island mayor, will be a featured speaker at the Fiscal Leadership and the Modern City Summit hosted by the Initiative on Cities at Boston University, April 27-28, 2015. The conference examines the ways in which communities are tackling contemporary financial constraints with 21st century financial tools.
From 10:45 a.m. to noon, April 27, 2015, Taveras will present on the panel “What’s Next for Pension Reform?” which will examine the advancements made toward sustainable pension reform. Specifically, Taveras will provide insight on leading the city of Providence’s ground-breaking pension reform during his term as mayor.
In 2013, Mayor Taveras reached agreement with the city unions and retirees to reform pensions and health care in Providence and save the city approximately $18 million annually. Furthermore, the reforms reduced the city's unfunded pension liability by approximately $186 million and reduced the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) liability by an additional $180 million. Specifically, the reforms:
- Eliminated 5 and 6 percent guaranteed annual raises (COLAs) for retirees;
- Suspended all other COLAs for 10 years;
- Capped retiree pensions at either the current pay of the same level worker or one-and-a-half times the median state household income, whichever is lower; and
- Changed rules regarding payments into the pension system and required employees to pay into the pension system for as long as they are earning credit toward a pension.
Providence’s pension reform saved pensions for current employees and all of Providence's retirees and allowed the city to protect and improve the health, safety, and quality of life for all residents.
From 2011 to 2015, Taveras served as the mayor of Providence, where he led a city government with 5,700 employees and oversaw a budget of $678 million. Taveras is credited with rescuing Providence from the brink of bankruptcy and eliminating a $110 million structural deficit through landmark reforms to pensions, negotiated concessions in labor contracts, and unprecedented assistance from tax-exempt institutions. Under his leadership, Providence was recognized with the All-America City Award from the National Civic League for its plan to boost third-grade reading proficiency. In addition, Taveras won the $5 million grand prize from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge for his innovative proposal to improve the vocabularies of pre-school age children.
Taveras also has a distinguished legal career. With over 14 years of experience in litigation, he is a licensed attorney in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York. His diverse litigation practice includes complex commercial matters, including matters arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, as well as bankruptcy litigation, zoning and land use, shareholder disputes, and election recounts and challenges.