This Week's Only In Rhode Island Moment
A Pro-Jo story that broke this week brought our attention to a dusty old 1974 law that sweetened the pension of former Governor Frank Licht. Props to the Pro-Jo’s Kathy Gregg, one of the last bastions of local historical knowledge still employed by the newspaper, for connecting the dots that Licht’s nephew, Richard Licht, could soon drink from the same retirement trough should his quest for a Superior Court judgeship reach fruition.
The special pension law applies to judges who have also been state legislators and/or statewide office holders. Richard Licht, who is the current director of Administration for Governor Chafee, is a former state senator and Lt. Governor. If Licht is successful in his quest to cop a Superior Court judgeship and sits on the bench for six years…..JACKPOT! The moldy old rule created 40-years ago primarily for a single individual, would boost Licht’s pension from the $49,122 a year he could right now to a whopping $128,691 annually. To be expected, the governor, state treasurer, and Democratic leaders of the General Assembly all agreed the legislature should repeal the law. House Speaker Gordon Fox going on record he was unaware the statute existed until he read about it in the paper. How comforting.
Frank Licht, by the way, narrowly beat John Chafee in a close 1968 governor’s race with 51% of the vote. One of his campaign promises was a local version of “read my lips, no new taxes.” As governor, he did an about face on the promises he made in 1968 and again in 1970 pushing through RI’s first income tax in order to resolve a worsening a fiscal crisis. And for going back on his promises, he got a special “carve out” sweetened pension.
As I said…..only in Rhode Island!
Go For The Gusto
The guy folks think is to be a Republican candidate for governor in 2014 is planning a “major announcement” November 4th. According to an e-mail sent to supporters of the Committee for Allan Fung, the Cranston mayor will be busting some sort of move on that Monday.
Oh, Yeah….THAT Guy
Veteran character actor Ed Lauter went to the big proscenium arch at age 74. Lauter died of a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma, most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. He usually played an authority figure, tough guy or con man. I remember him most for playing Captain Knauer, head of the prison guards in the original (you know, the GOOD one) THE LONGEST YARD starring Burt Reynolds. He was the quarterback of the guards’ team taken down by Paul Crewe’s (Reynolds) MEAN MACHINE inmates team. OK, I know you still gotta see the face!