Court ruling gives retired firefighter less lucrative disability pension

The Providence Retirement Board granted John Sauro’s application for an ordinary disability pension after he was previously stripped of his benefits

By FireRescue1 Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A retired firefighter was granted a less lucrative disability pension after previously being stripped of his benefits.

WPRI reported that the Providence Retirement Board unanimously voted to grant John Sauro’s application for an ordinary disability pension following a Rhode Island Supreme Court vote that took away his accidental disability pension.

The decision comes after Sauro was seen in a 2011 undercover video lifting weights and working out despite his claims that he injured his shoulder while on the job.

The city moved to strip Sauro of his pension after the video was released, but Superior Court Judge William Carnes ordered the city to continue giving Sauro his monthly benefits.

The Supreme Court overturned Carnes’ ruling in February and found that the city had the right to take away Sauro’s benefits.

“Allowing plaintiff perpetual accidental disability pension benefits under these circumstances runs contrary to the ordinance's objectives, which are to compensate work-injury-related disabilities and encourage qualified persons who are relieved of those disabilities to return to work," Supreme Court Justice Maureen McKenna Goldberg said. "It would also be patently absurd, in light of the finding that plaintiff is disabled, to place a disabled firefighter on a list for a position that he is unqualified to perform."

Sauro was collecting $3,900 a month tax-free, but will now receive $1,600 in monthly benefits that will be taxed.


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