Lombardi to challenge board on Campbell's disability pension

Lombardi to challenge board on Campbell's disability pension

'We're not sitting back on this'

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Mayor Charles Lombardi wants more details.

He's asking members of the state board that approved a controversial disability pension for retired town firefighter Stephen Campbell to explain exactly why.

Two of three doctors cleared Campbell to come back to work for the North Providence Fire Department, Lombardi told The Breeze, so why would members of the State Retirement Board's disability subcommittee decide that Campbell deserved to be paid to never work again?

"I want to know how this works," he said. "Maybe they can give me an education on it."

According to a Dec. 16 letter to the board from Lombardi, "an internal review of the records seems to indicate a question as to whether there was an actual injury at all" involving Campbell.

"Therefore, I would respectfully request a written explanation as to how the subcommittee came to the determination that Firefighter Campbell was disabled and granted an accidental disability pension," he wrote.

Lombardi said he plans to attend a meeting of the disability subcommittee this Friday, Jan. 3, to testify on two personnel matters, the Campbell pension and another disability pension requested by a second firefighter Robert Lincourt, a 41-year-old firefighter who was hired back in 2007, according to documents obtained by The Breeze.

Lombardi would not get into specifics on the Lincourt pension request, but said his administration will produce evidence that Lincourt doesn't deserve the pension.

"We're not sitting back on this," he said.

Does Lombardi think he might change the board's mind on Friday?

"I'll tell you what, I'm going to give it my best shot," he said.

WPRI reported in late November that the subcommittee voted 2-1 two months earlier to approve the disability pension for Campbell. The dissenting vote came from Melissa Malone, of the Rhode Island General Treasurer's office, who did not believe the documentation presented supported granting an accidental disability pension.

According to documentation from town officials, Campbell spent nearly half of his decade on the fire department out on injured leave after being hired by former Mayor A. Ralph Mollis at the age of 52. His disability pension will end up costing town and state taxpayers at least $1.4 million over the next 20 years.

Mollis has said there were no politics behind the hiring, and that it would have been age discrimination for officials to reject Campbell. Town labor attorney Vincent Ragosta later told The Breeze that Mollis was wrong, and his statement "doesn't even pass the sniff test."

Lombardi said he has asked Ragosta to conduct a full review of the Campbell situation to assess any further actions officials might take.

Comments

Agree with Lombardi on these two cases on pensions for questionable injuries for firefighters.
This is a problem that has been in the culture of public union employees especially the fire and police. It needs to be addressed to stop the known practice of early retirement by taking a disability pension.

As Mayor Lombardi continues to promote himself with the disagreement on pensions or the way the requests are granted. Last time I checked Mayor Lombardi wasn't a doctor. As far as the General Treasures dissenting vote "it's and election year draw your own conclusions." Maybe Mayor Lombardi does need to be educated he has only been involved in town politics for 30 plus years. He must be aware of the process because when the Town Solicitor's cousin requested a pension from the police department he didn't question it, not only did he not question it, but healthcare for life was given to this individual. That is unheard of for a non service related pension. You have to complete 20 years service for health coverage that ends when the retiree turns 65. So stop promoting yourself Mayor Lombardi to the people of North Providence letting them believe your fighting for us. It's obvious you have a majority of the people fooled.

The problem Mr. Mayor, is that NOBODY reads the union contracts that are negociated and agreed to. For decades, our political leaders have slowly destroyed the residents trust in our government and future of our children, all because of the RIDICULOUS union contracts that are continually signed. If there was ever a government that would truly dissolve the unions, not negociate with them in the future, privatize these positions, life would be so much better. It's been known for decades now, that pensions are crushing all municipalities. Decades later, pensions are still in place. The firefighter's contracts are so ridiculous, it's a crime. THERE'S YOUR EDUCATION MR. MAYOR!! (and this goes for Mollis and Mancini also)