Dubois not among challengers to changes in retiree benefits

Dubois not among challengers to changes in retiree benefits

WOONSOCKET - City Councilor Marc Dubois' name may be listed among the 48 police retirees who have signed on as plaintiffs in a suit challenging changes made by the Woonsocket Budget Commission, but he never contacted the lawyers in charge of the case, and is now working to have the error corrected and his name removed from the document.

The suit charges that in making changes to retiree healthcare policies, the Commission violated provisions of an existing agreement between the city and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, No. 404. First filed by retired officer Glenn Hebert in August, the suit has since been joined by around 50 plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs include School Committee member John Donlon, and several other well-known former officers including Timothy Paul, Todd Brien, Eugene Jalette, Alan Leclaire and Guy Baillargeon, to name a few. The common "Dubois" name also appears several times with plaintiffs Lisa, Richard and Marc.

But according to Councilor Dubois, neither he nor another former law enforcement officer sharing his name, ever joined the suit.

"I'm asking that it be taken off as soon as possible," he said.

Dubois first learned that his name appeared in connection to the case when The Valley Breeze contacted him this week to discuss his involvement. The subject has since been mentioned at a City Council meeting and quickly became fodder for talk radio.

"I know you can add names to the suit - hopefully he can go to court and delete my name from the petition," said Dubois.

Attorney Peter Hopkins, who is representing the retirees in the suit with the help of Attorney Edward Roy, could not be reached for comment.

The changes to retiree benefits were made as part of the city's five-year plan to resolve ongoing fiscal troubles and a growing deficit state officials say will climb to $92 million by 2017 without serious action. The plan also calls for concessions from the city's active unions, and additional funding from taxpayers, who have been billed millions more this year.

The city of Woonsocket and the Woonsocket Budget Commission are defendants in the Superior Court case, created, in part, to fight the change to a 20 percent co-share for medical expenses. The adjustment, they claim, violates the plaintiffs rights under the Contract Clause of the Rhode Island Constitution and exceeds the authority granted to the commission under the state law granting it power.