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Montalbano Says Carcieri is Intransigent (posted Feb. 13, 2006)

Rhode Island Senate President Joseph Montalbano said yesterday that Governor Don Carcieri needs to be more open to negotiation. Appearing on the WLNE-TV show "Six News on the Record" with Jim Hummel, President Montalbano complained that "The governor seems fairly intransigent in some of his positions." Given the difficult and controversial issues on the table, the Senate President expressed the view that there needed to be more bargaining and compromise in the governor's stances.

When asked about the governor's budget proposals regarding sick time benefits for state employees, the Senate leader pointed out that "a lot of those things are subject to collective bargaining....The underlying principle I would like to follow is respect for those agreements." House Speaker William Murphy also appeared on the show and said it was unreasonable to change benefits already agreed to as part of the collective bargaining process. "It is not fair and it is not equitable," the Speaker indicated.

On the subject of school mergers, Montalbano said "the time has come to look at the merging of districts to get some economies of scale." But he didn't believe it was desirable to focus on merging the three poorest districts in the state (Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls), as the governor recently proposed.