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Town still fighting Denis Menard case

GREENFIELD — It has been more than six years and the town and one of its former employees are still arguing over money.

Denis Menard, a former police officer who was forced to retire in 2007 after he was injured in the line of duty, filed a grievance against the town several years ago saying he believed the town owed him more money than he received upon retirement.

Menard has claimed all along that he was owed about $35,000 more than he received — approximately $91,000 for unused sick time, personal time and time-bank time.

The extra $35,000 would include educational incentive pay and longevity pay, which the town has contended is not included in back pay because it is paid while the person is employed.

Menard is still waiting for his roll call pay, because he believes he should receive the interest it has accrued over the years. Roll call pay totaled $2,700 when Menard left the force, but he would also like the interest that has accrued on that amount over the years.

According to Human Resources Director Dennis Helmus, Menard’s contract has no provision for the town paying him interest on that amount.

Helmus and Mayor William Martin said that though it may seem like the town is paying more in legal fees than some might think it’s worth to carry on the fight, it’s about setting precedent.

“If you just agree to pay something that you don’t believe you owe, it could cost you a lot more down the road if you set that precedent,” said Helmus.

It is not yet clear how much the town has paid in legal fees to fight the case.

Most recently, the Appeals Court ordered the town to do a recalculation of Menard’s back pay.

In April 2011, Superior Court Judge Daniel Ford ruled that Greenfield had neither breached its contract with Menard nor violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing with respect to his contract, but Menard appealed that decision.

The Appeals Court upheld Ford’s ruling, except for how much was calculated as Menard’s hourly rate for back pay.

Menard said he appealed because the Superior Court judge misinterpreted the town’s agreement with him.

Menard worked 27 years on the local force before he was injured in 2004. He fell from a ladder during an investigation and broke his wrist and kneecap and after a lengthy medical leave, the town informed him by mail of his involuntary retirement in December 2007.

Helmus said the Appeals Court judge will eventually decide how the town will have to calculate Menard’s back pay. He said the town will also wait to hear what the decision is on the interest that has accrued on the former officer’s roll call pay.

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