New Bedford Seeks to Revoke Former Acting Fire Chief’s Pension
NEW BEDFORD — The City of New Bedford has asked the municipal retirement board to reconsider awarding a former Acting Fire Chief a retirement pension, after he was fired last month for allegedly lying about work-related injuries.
Paul Coderre, Jr. was terminated in January for dishonesty in claiming injured-on-duty benefits after a city investigation captured footage of him lifting and unloading heavy items from his pickup truck on his own.
He had collected over $200,000 in benefits while on injury leave, according to a statement from the mayor's office.
A motion submitted today by city attorney Nicholas Poser asked the New Bedford retirement board to reconsider its Jan. 27 decision to award Coderre a pension, as he had been fired following a Jan. 13 termination hearing.
It is not clear how much money Coderre was granted in retirement benefits.
According to the city, Coderre was notified of his termination hearing on Jan. 6.
But he filed a retirement application four days later, on Jan. 10 — and asked for the retirement to be effective that same day.
Poser wrote in the motion that generally, retirements must be effective after the date they are filed.
He also noted that in Coderre's application, the former chief indicated that he has not been investigated for misappropriating city funds — but four days prior, he had received the hearing notice charging him with stealing city funds.
Finally, the city wrote that Coderre was not eligible for retirement, as he is only 54 years old — not 55 or older, as required — and his employment was not yet finished when he filed on Jan. 10.
Poser argued in the motion that if his retirement on Jan. 10 was not legally effective, Coderre "stands discharged for reasons of moral turpitude, which would ... operate as a pension forfeiture."
“The City of New Bedford expects the Retirement Board to address this promptly,” said Poser. “This is a serious matter, and it deserves serious consideration.”
Coderre could not immediately be reached for comment.