Former Onset fire chief's pension increase request denied

Nov 10, 2017

The Onset Fire District Prudential Committee denied a former fire chief’s request for a pension increase, but didn’t rule out revisiting the issue at a later date.

On Thursday, committee members heard from former chief James Draper, who retired 20 years ago. Over that time, Draper said the cost of living has increased and his pension hasn’t kept pace.

Chair Charles Klueber said he was sympathetic; however, he noted voters recently approved a new $8 million fire station and the district had to watch its finances.

“It’s not whether you deserve an increase, but whether the district can afford it,” said Klueber.

Under state law, municipal employee pension increases must be approved by a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting. But because Draper worked for the fire district, Klueber noted that his pension request only needed approval from two out of three Prudential Committee members.

Klueber said he wasn’t comfortable approving the request without some input from voters.

“I don’t feel two people out of three-thousand should make that decision,” said Klueber.

The Prudential Committee set aside Draper’s request, saying they’ll likely revisit it next year. Members did not disclose how much the increased pension would cost the district.