The board that oversees the pension funds for Lexington's police and fire workers did the right thing Wednesday in denying Fire Chief Robert Hendricks the disability pension he sought after Mayor Jim Gray began the process to fire him.
The board reviewed three doctors' reports on Hendricks and voted unanimously to reject the application for a pension that would have paid him somewhere between $89,000 and $111,000 annually, tax free. That would have been in addition to the pension he earned from working two decades as a Lexington firefighter.
The action is significant because it's a small step toward addressing the high rate of disability pensions, a factor that has contributed to an estimated $221 million unfunded liability in the police and fire pension fund.
A recent Herald-Leader report found that 38 percent of the 119 Lexington police officers and firefighters who retired in the past five years were awarded disability pensions, compared to only 3 percent for Kentucky State Police and 7 percent for Louisville hazardous-duty workers, including police officers and firefighters.
It's important that fire and police workers who put their lives and safety at risk are confident that a solvent fund will be there if they are disabled in the line of duty.
The board's careful review and responsible action helped assure that in this case. Here's hoping it will exercise the same care with less high-profile cases when they come before it.