Digging Deeper: Police union votes to reject pension settlement

Tom Jones is one of the 254 former and current police officers who voted against a proposed settlement that would have ended the legal fight over Rhode Island's 2011 landmark pension overhaul.

The balloting was for members of the unions and retiree coalitions. Six groups had to approve the deal and the police group did not.

"They want to rescind it like this? I don't think so. Not as long as I can take a breath of fresh air. Nobody's going to take the money that I worked hard for," Jones said.

When the proposed deal was announced, the ground rules declared if one group didn't approve, then both sides would be back to mediation.

"It's so important to stay out of court. I think the judge recognized that bargaining units realize that," Gov. Lincoln Chafee told NBC 10.

Jones disagreed.

"I'm a little bit disappointed in the judge that allowed this to come back to negotiations with the state. It should have gone to trial right there," he said.

Jones said he negotiated contracts in Coventry where he was union president. He warned the town council it was underfunding the pension account.

"When I was the union president in Coventry, we used to call up and check with the actuary to find out how much money was coming in. I always had to nag that town council to fund the pension, fund the pension. You're going to get caught with your pants down," he said.

"The money cannot be used to give people lower taxes. You give people lower taxes, and people will vote for you so that party stays in. It's all a big political game. And it does not help the taxpayer, and it does not help the town employees."