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EXCLUSIVE: New Documents Show Diocese Is Freezing Benefits For Many Teachers and Staff GoLocal has secured copies of Diocese of Providence documents that show that the benefits of many teachers and staff in Lay Employees Retirement Fund will be frozen and for others, they will no longer be eligible for the “Lay Teacher’s Retirement Fund” at the end of the year. The implications are profound, as potentially thousands of Catholic school teachers and staff will lose the contributions to the pension fund. They will receive nothing. Questions persist about the overall financial health of the fund. In June, GoLocal unveiled Diocesan documents that showed that the pension fund for a large number of teachers and staff at Catholic schools in Rhode Island is economically unstable. “The unfunded liability of the Lay Employees’ Retirement Plan will continue to grow and will become untenable in the near future,” stated the previously disclosed Diocesan document. The document, entitled, “Recommendation of Finance Council Subcommittee Regarding the Law Employees’ Retirement Plan," dated October 2017, painted a bleak future for the fund, outlines the causes of the fund’s tenuous structure, and calls for immediate action to stabilize the fund. The Diocese refused to respond to questions. The new documents secured by GoLocal show that “As a result of this review, a decision

was made that the Lay requirements. Employees' Diocese documents Retirement Plan will secured in June by be ‘frozen’ effective GoLocal, the longDecember 31, 2018. term future of the A ‘freeze’ is not the fund is unstable, Bishop Thomas Tobin same as a termination; "Even with the revised generally, a ‘freeze’ means that more realistic assumptions, if no new employees can join the we make these changes, it will Plan, and that benefits will be still take 30-35 years to fully fixed, and will not grow, after fund the Plan." the ‘freeze.’” Trouble for Diocesan Lay In addition, the Employees’ Retirement Plan document states: Cropped Up in 2009 There have been early signs of  Participant: Current trouble dating back to Employee (Vested on or 2010. GoLocal reported in before 12/31/18) September of 2017:  The benefits you earned According to a 2009 article in through 12/31/18 remain unchanged, but you will earn the Diocese of Providence’s newspaper, Rhode no more accruals or Island Catholic, the Lay additions to your account Employees’ Retirement Plan after 12/31/18. was in distress and the benefits  Participant: Current payouts were being cut back. Employee (Unvested as of The then-administrative 12/31/18) secretary to the Lay Employees’  If you continue to work for a fund, J. Timothy Kocab, participating employer and administrative secretary of the complete the 10-year vesting Lay Employees’ Retirement period, any benefits you Board said, “The plan’s earned through 12/31/18 will assets…have declined be vested. significantly in value during the  If you leave employment past several months.” before you reach the 10-year In addition, Kocab is quoted vesting period, you will as saying, "These are necessary forfeit all benefits under the steps in order for us to refocus Plan. our resources on strengthening The Diocese is planning on the funding position of the Lay holding a series of briefings for Employees’ Retirement Plan.” members of the retirement fund. Kocab told Diocesan Unfortunately, the Diocese employees in a letter, "Your has refused to disclose the employer remains committed to financial condition of the fund. helping you build financial As the retirement is a “Church security for your retirement Plan” it is exempt from federal years.” and state disclosure In September, the Diocese

fiscal office refused to answer questions about the St. Joseph pension fund bankruptcy, the Lay Employees’ Retirement Fund, or any other church funds associated with the Diocese of Providence. According to the Diocese’s website, the fiscal office was “established in 1973 to assist the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence and related Diocesan Corporations in their administration of the temporal resources of the Church, the Fiscal Office operates in a multi -corporate environment and is responsible for the day to day activity of some 30 separate internal corporations.” The collapse of St. Joseph Health Services Pension Fund Also in June, two related massive lawsuits were filed simultaneously in state and federal court by the receiver in the collapsed St. Joseph pension fund - the largest pension failure in Rhode Island history. The suit alleges massive fraud in the case which has created a hole in pension assets estimated to be in excess of $115 million. The suit was filed by the receiver Stephen Del Sesto and was prepared by the special investigator Max Wistow and his law associates Stephen Sheehan and Benjamin 5 The Federal Court complaint is 136 pages and includes a 21 count complaint filed against 14 Defendants. Similarly, the state court complaint is 101 pages and includes 16 count complaint against same defendants.

States Leverage Federal Funds To Help Insurers Lower Premiums When Tracy Deis decided in 2016 to transition from a fulltime job to part-time contract work, the loss of her employer’s health insurance was not a major worry because she knew she could get coverage through the

marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act. But price was a big concern. “The ACA made it possible to make the switch in

my life,” said Deis, 48, who lives in Minneapolis. But she quickly added, “I was really worried about the cost.” Her anxiety was

understandable. In Minnesota, the average cost of insurance in the state-run exchange soared 57 percent in 2017, after a 40 percent rise in 2016….Read More

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