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Angel Taveras, Greenberg Traurig Shareholder and Former Providence, RI Mayor, Speaks at Citi’s Global Pension, Foundation, and Endowment Conference

BOSTON – May 12, 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 Global Pension, Foundation, and Endowment Conference hosted by Citi, May 13 - 14, 2015. This invitation-only event brings together some of the world’s leading public sector and corporate pension administrators for a peer-to-peer discussion of content and issues that are pressing for all pensions, as well as foundations and endowments.

From 11:25 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., May 14, Taveras will present on “US Public Pensions: Detroit Emerged From Bankruptcy, But What are the Precedents for Other Public Pensions?” The presentation will cover the current landscape of US public pension policy, from recent reform case studies, to local election issues and results, to court challenges, and when all else fails, bankruptcy with specific lessons from Detroit. 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, these 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 five and six 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, Rhode Island, 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.