WOONSOCKET, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has restored full health care benefits to over 50 Woonsocket Police retirees after finding that the city and its budget commission violated the Rhode Island Constitution by indefinitely requiring them to pay deductibles.

Judge Jeffrey Lanphear ruled in favor of officer Glen Hebert who challenged the commission’s authority to unilaterally cut health care benefits for retirees in 2013, the Providence Journal reported.

Edward Roy Jr., who represented the retirees, said that his clients are gratified that the court accepted their arguments. Roy said that places a dollar figure on what retirees are owed and said that it is being evaluated.

The health care cuts were implemented by the budget committee as an emergency measure to relieve strain on the cities financial woes.

Lanphear found that the emergency is no longer “immediately emerging” and that the “herculean efforts” by the city have improved its financial standing.

Lanphear ordered the city to repay all deductibles paid after July 1, 2017, and to restore all bargained-for rights.

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt could not be reached immediately for comment.

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, The Providence Journal.

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