Settlement reached between West Metro and retirees

$1.2 million payout with no declaration of wrongdoing

Posted 5/29/19

Details have emerged on a settlement agreement between West Metro Fire District, Tim O'Hayre and Ruth Brienza. West Metro Fire has agreed to pay 70 retired firefighters and their dependents $1.2 …

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Settlement reached between West Metro and retirees

$1.2 million payout with no declaration of wrongdoing

Posted

Details have emerged on a settlement agreement between West Metro Fire District, Tim O'Hayre and Ruth Brienza.

West Metro Fire has agreed to pay 70 retired firefighters and their dependents $1.2 million, according to documents provided by Brian Matise, a lawyer who represents O'Hayre and Brienza. The parties reached a settlement agreement on May 8, 12 days before the case was supposed to go to a Jefferson County court.

Last year, O'Hayre, a former West Metro Fire firefighter and Brienza, the wife of another former West Metro Fire fighter, filed a lawsuit against the fire district, alleging that the Executive Committee of IAFF Local 1309, a union for current West Metro Fire employees and the district gave funds from a health trust to current West Metro employees while the trust was being discontinued. West Metro Fire previously said the trust was handled properly, while O'Hayre and Brienza said retirees and dependents from the district were entitled to the trust's funds.

“The settlement documents speak for themselves, and we're pleased with the terms of it. We hope this entire ordeal prompts the (West Metro Fire) board of directors to ensure that their administration is doing their jobs officially,” said O'Hayre and Brienza in a joint statement to the Lakewood Sentinel.

Although both parties agreed to the settlement, a Jefferson County judge still has to approve the agreement. Ronda Scholting, a spokesperson for West Metro Fire, said the district had no new statement, because the settlement agreement still requires the judge's approval.

“The (lawsuit) is challenging the district's choice to disburse a portion of the Retiree Health Account funds to the active employees. West Metro (was) defending this suit and firmly believes it took appropriate action in winding down the Health Trust in a fair and equitable manner,” the statement said.

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