From the crowd of people receiving pensions through the state of Rhode Island’s system — 10,884 of them having retired from state jobs — Irene Parenteau has stepped into the spotlight to state that General Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo “betrayed” her. She’s not getting cost of living adjustments to her pension, you see, after the reform that Raimondo ushered through the General Assembly a few years ago.
One interesting discovery an investigator might make is that there are actually two Irene Parenteaus in Rhode Island, and both of them have state pensions.
Small state fun facts aside, though, the Irene Parenteau who has entered into politics to make a TV ad for a competing candidate retired in 2010 at the age of 66. According to state records, she had 23 years of service, which puts her hiring with the state at about age 43.
Over those years, Mrs. Parenteau contributed $50,431 toward her own pension., and according to the calculation on RIOpenGov.org’s pension module she will receive an estimated $370,684 in pension payments even if she never sees another cost of living adjustment. That is, over the next 21 years or so, she’ll get back more than seven times what she put in over her 23 years as an employee, even after her “betrayal.”
The average Rhode Islander (let alone those making the decision to leave their home state in search of opportunity) might not much mind being betrayed like that.