As I have said, it is common practice and a wise approach for settlement discussions to be held while litigation is proceeding. I am therefore pleased -- though not surprised -- at Judge Taft-Carter's order for mediation talks.
While the state has a strong case, a strong case does not guarantee a win. A negotiated settlement that is satisfactory to both sides could be in the best financial interest of the Rhode Island taxpayers. Such an outcome would be a favorable alternative to costly, uncertain litigation and -- worst of all -- the "fiscal calamity" of a potential loss in court.
Throughout my time in public office, I have believed in coming together to find common ground and common solutions. Again and again, I have seen the success that can come from a cooperative approach, whether during the dispute between Warwick teachers and the School Committee when I was Mayor, in the Central Falls teachers' crisis, or, more recently, as Governor, the agreements on the airport runway extension and between Brown and the city of Providence. I have learned that all-or-nothing is an approach that can bring a tremendous potential downside. There simply is no harm in talking. Judge Taft-Carter's decision demonstrates the wisdom of this course, and I look forward to continuing this important process.