Firefighter’s Union Suing City Of Providence

By Liz Tufts

Firefighters are suing the city of Providence, saying the city isn’t making pension payments when they’re supposed to.

The union is now forcing the city to pay back millions of dollars immediately.

“I think there is some concern,” Providence Firefighter Union President, Paul Doughty, is accusing the city of mishandling pension funds. He said, “We think there needs to be a commitment, and if it’s not then, it needs to go through the court system.”

The city is required by law to make payments for each fiscal year by June 30th.

The Providence Fire Fighters Local 799 is filing a lawsuit claiming the city hasn’t been making annual pension payments when they’re supposed to, in some cases, not until month after the deadline.

“They are making it in October, so they are clearly violating their own budget… but how far can they go? Can they go to December… could they go to the next February?  Could they go to the next year? That’s really what caused the whole pension issue,” said Doughty.

He says by failing to meet the annual deadline, the city is depriving the retirement system of interest gains that could have been made over the months.

Mayor Elorza says he has enough money in the budget to make this year’s payment, but wouldn’t talk about previous years. He said, “I have made the full payment to the pension system and I am committed to do that as we are legally bound to.”

The union is asking a judge to require the city to make its pension payment on time, starting with a $64 million dollar contribution before the end of this fiscal year.

Doughty says the union only became aware of this issue in the last few months, but he believes it’s been going on for several years.

© WLNE-TV 2015