Fung, the Cranston mayor, has already criticized the program, saying it would set impossibly high standards for cities like his — essentially punishing the weak.

Yes, cities and towns need to better fund their pension systems, he says. But they need the power to cut retirement benefits if they're going to make any real headway.

Daniel Beardsley, executive director of the League of Cities and Towns, is asking legislators to impose some of the same reforms on municipal workers that they have on state workers in recent years: cutting disability pay for those capable of working another less demanding job, for instance.

The General Assembly has considered these measures before, but balked — no doubt loathe to piss off cops and firefighters.

Will things be different this time? Beardsley says he's hopeful.

Charles Barkley will be watching.

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