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The town of East Greenwich is asking a judge to vacate an arbitrator’s decision regarding the pension benefits for a fire department administrative assistant.

In April, arbitrator Michael Ryan determined the town violated its contract with the East Greenwich Firefighters Association (alternately known as the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3328) when the pension plan for Kristen Henrikson, an administrative employee and the wife of former Fire Chief Peter Henrikson, changed.

The town agreed to file a motion for summary judgment in Kent County Superior Court by Monday, and the union is expected to file a cross-motion by Nov. 4. As of Friday, the town’s motion had not yet been filed.

Henrikson, who was hired in 1997 as a tax clerk, paid 9 percent of her base wages into a state pension fund for police and firefighters for 15 years. The state’s retirement system, however, determined that a new administrative plan was needed for Henrikson because she was ineligible to receive benefits under the police and firefighters plan.

An administrative pension plan was created in 2012 and the union filed a grievance against the fire district, which became a town department in 2013. The town subsequently argued the pension dispute was a matter for the State Retirement Board to resolve.

While the state returned excess salary contributions to Henrickson, the new administrative pension plan has a higher age of retirement and a lower benefit payout.

In his decision, Ryan said the town violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement and established past practice when it allowed Henrickson’s pension plan to change – and did nothing to honor its contractual obligations.

“[T]he town simply allowed [Henrikson] to be moved to the less desirable plan without making her whole for the pension ... [she] paid into for 15 years,” he wrote.

Ryan added that the onus is on the town to recoup years of pension benefits contributed on Henrikson’s behalf with interest, along with any interest on her own employee contributions.

“The [contract] is between the town and union, not between the town and the [state retirement system],” he wrote. “So if the town’s pension carrier refuses to continue the plan for [Henrikson], the town needs to find an equivalent alternative method of providing the plan required by the [contract].”

In a court filing, Town Solicitor Peter Clarkin said Ryan exceeded his authority and contradicted state law, while the ruling “creates a completely irrational result.” Clarkin did not return phone messages from the Independent by press time Wednesday.

Attorney Elizabeth Wiens, who is representing the union in the case, declined comment Tuesday.

Henrikson previously filed a gender discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the fire district and the union in 2011, alleging she was not allowed to transfer from her clerk’s position to a firefighter’s job – and that when she sought firefighter training, she was exempt from tests and assessments, including a physical performance exam, because she was already a district employee.

U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. dismissed the case in March 2015, noting there was no evidence to suggest Henrikson was discriminated against based on her gender.

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