Rhode Island State House

Senator John A. Pagliarini Jr. (R- District 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton) and Representative Robert Nardolillo III (R-District 28, Coventry) have recently introduced legislation, that they are calling “Betsy’s Bill” that would reduce a non-union state employee’s salary and benefits after leaving their position.

Senator Pagliarini (R- District 11, Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton)

In a State House Press Release on Friday, Pagliarini said he was compelled to introduce this legislation (2016 S-2991) after learning about the severance package given to Betsy Wall, the former chief marketing officer for the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation. Wall received $67,500, half of her annual salary, plus up to $500 for declining health insurance coverage.

“’Betsy’s Bill’ is designed to protect taxpayers by limiting severance pay to two weeks. Government needs to reflect the business community; employees are not entitled to windfalls,” said Pagliarini.

“Ms. Wall was on the job for just about four months and the results of the disastrous warmer, cooler campaign led to her leaving the state,” said Nardolillo. “I don’t think anyone in these circumstances should walk away with such a rich severance package.”

The legislation would reduce the period of time a state employee, under contract, could receive salary and benefits after termination from six months to two weeks. It would also reduce the maximum severance pay from one year to two weeks. A companion bill will be filed by Nardolillo on Tuesday.

The legislation does not apply to employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

About Senator Pagliarini

Senator John A. Pagliarini, Jr. (R-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) is a lifelong resident of Rhode Island who graduated from Scituate High School and holds B.S. in Business Administration and Master of Community Planning degrees from the University of Rhode Island. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Roger Williams University School of Law.

Senator Pagliarini is a real estate attorney who previously served as the tax assessor for Bristol and the town planner for West Greenwich. The Senator is an Eagle Scout and served six years in the Rhode Island Army National Guard. He lives in Tiverton with his wife, Susan, and two children.

He was elected to the Rhode Island Senate on January 5, 2016. He can be reached at (401) 529-7599.