Retired officer takes city to court

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Retired police officer Edwin Scallon is representing himself in a lawsuit to recover his cost of living increase.

The Providence City Council last week froze adjustments for retirees.

Scallon’s case has been postponed until July, but the issues will come to play eventually. Outside the court, NBC 10 asked him if he didn’t fear that the city would be driven into bankruptcy by ever growing pension costs.

“The city just had an assessment of the Water Supply Board, including all the property in Scituate. Their assessment: $1 billion. Now what they’re talking about is getting money from the hospitals and the educational institutions. How can they make an articuable argument that they are bankrupt or bankrupt eligible?” Scallon said.

The city maintains that bankruptcy is a very real possibility and that the water system isn’t Providence’s to sell. The city says reducing the annual raises for retirees is a must.

“In order to maintain a healthy pension system, which is today 34 percent funded, people will have to forgo their guaranteed compounded raises in order to maintain what they already have,” said city spokesman Jeffrey Padwa.

But retired firefighter Stephen Day said he’s ready to face the city’s possible bankruptcy. He said the threat to cut in half Central Falls retirees’ pensions is never going to happen.

“They’ve been waving this forever. (Judge Robert) Flanders, the receiver, comes in. The receiver does things. He does them. And then a federal bankruptcy judge gets a say — right, wrong, too much, over the top or whatever. So, I’m confident. In every other case in this country, the United States of America, not one retiree has ever been hurt this way,” Day said. “Not one.”

Scallon’s case will be back in court July 1.

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