I-Team Update: Retirement benefits for Paterson city employees

In June, the I-Team found police and firefighters in Paterson were being denied retirement benefits based on a ruling in an arbitration case. The I-Team also discovered that the whole ruling was based on false testimony by the city. Now, the Paterson Police Union is filing a grievance against the city Wednesday. However, former police officer Scott Alexander, whose case started the investigation, may not be compensated.

When Alexander was injured on the job he was denied his terminal leave, four months pay given to Paterson city employees when they retire. City officials testified that no police officer in the history of the city had ever received terminal leave without 25 years of service. An I-Team investigation found at least eight other cops did get terminal leave with less than 25 years.

The police union president says the investigation prompted the union to file a grievance on behalf of two other officers who were recently turned down for benefits. The union president also says the grievance will only apply to new officers so Alexander will not get his money.

Shep Cohen, one of New Jerseys top labor lawyers, says since the case was already decided, the only way for Alexander to get his benefits would be if an arbitrator found the city provided false testimony and officials deliberately lied. But Cohen adds that even then getting the benefits would not be a sure thing.

Paterson Mayor Joey Torres could not be reached for comment. of the I-Team investigation. of the I-Team investigation.I-Team investigation.

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