Former fire chief gets tax-free pension


Former Providence Fire Chief George Farrell has been granted a tax-free accidental-disability pension by a deeply divided city Retirement Board.

The board voted 5-4 Thursday in favor of the pension for the 55-year-old Farrell, whose leukemia is in remission. The Providence Journal reported that the vote frustrated board members who believed the city retirement law and its so-called cancer presumption ordinance for firefighters barred them from approving the deal.

The city’s Law Department said Farrell could only get the tax-free pension if three doctors agreed that the leukemia prevents him from doing his job. One of three physicians who examined Farrell said he could return to work on medication.

Farrell’s lawyer said city law requires three doctors to agree he has cancer, but not on the extent of his disability. 

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