We must ask "WHY?"

We must ask "WHY?"

WHY?

WHY?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Follow on to Yesterdays Post




"LABOR DISPUTE State’s top court refuses to hear city’s appeal of payment to firefighters
Posted: December 2
Updated: Today at 12:40 AM

W-B must pay $1 million
By Terrie Morgan-Besecker tmorgan@timesleader.com
Law & Order Reporter

WILKES-BARRE – The state Supreme Court has refused to hear the city’s appeal of a $1 million arbitration award issued to firefighters, all but ensuring the two-year legal battle has come to an end.

The ruling means each firefighter will receive a lump-sum payment totaling around $13,000, which will compensate them for salary increases they were due dating back to 2002.

The city has been battling to overturn a arbitrator’s ruling in 2008 that granted firefighters a salary benefit that was given to city police officers.

The ruling was upheld by a Luzerne County judge, then later by the state Commonwealth Court. The city asked the state Supreme Court in April to hear the case, but it issued an order Monday declining to accept the case.

The only appellate option the city has left would be to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. It’s unlikely the court would agree as it typically takes only cases involving matters with nationwide impact, said attorney Stephen Holroyd of Philadelphia, who represented the firefighters union.

“This is the final word,” Holroyd said.

The dispute centered on a 2002 agreement between the city and police officers that paid each officer a lump-sum payment of $1,300 in 2002 and 2003 and $1,500 each year thereafter. The money was to compensate them for agreeing to allow civilians to take over parking meter collections.

The firefighters filed a grievance that sought the same payments based on a parity clause in their contract that mandated they receive any salary increase paid to police.

The city claimed the payment to police officers was for training and education, not a salary increase, but the arbitrator rejected that argument.

In its appeal of the arbitration ruling, the city alleged the head of the firefighters union, Tom Makar, testified falsely at the arbitration hearing regarding when he learned of the 2002 agreement with police.

Makar had said he learned about it in 2007, but the city had a letter from Makar that it said proved he had knowledge of it in 2004. The time was crucial because the city alleged the grievance had been filed too late.

The problem is the city did not discover the letter, which was found in a file, until after the arbitration hearing was held. It was thus precluded from introducing it as evidence.

Holroyd said he’s pleased the court battle has been resolved, but it’s unfortunate the city opted to continue the battle for so long.

“The city agreed to a parity clause. They gave extra money to the police and tried to hide it from firefighters by calling it something it wasn’t,” Holroyd said. “They got caught and instead of doing the right thing, they spent lots of money on attorneys’ fees on a case they should have known they weren’t going to win.”

The city placed $1 million in an escrow account following the Commonwealth Court ruling to cover the payments should it lose at the Supreme Court.

Holroyd said the total payment will be more because the city will have to pay 6 percent interest, compounded annually, on the amount dating back to 2008. The exact dollar figure could not be obtained Wednesday.

Mayor Tom Leighton declined to comment on the case Wednesday, other than to say the city is reviewing the matter to determine if it has any appeal options left.
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I would like to point out a few Qoutes from this article:
"The city has been battling to overturn a arbitrator’s ruling in 2008 that granted firefighters a salary benefit that was given to city police officers."

"The firefighters filed a grievance that sought the same payments based on a parity clause in their contract that mandated they receive any salary increase paid to police."

"The city placed $1 million in an escrow account following the Commonwealth Court ruling to cover the payments should it lose at the Supreme Court." This happened in 2008. According to our Dictator it is why he raised taxes. So why didn't our taxes go back down for 2009 and 2010?

“The city agreed to a parity clause. They gave extra money to the police and tried to hide it from firefighters”

“They got caught and instead of doing the right thing, they spent lots of money on attorneys’ fees on a case they should have known they weren’t going to win.” And Leighton says we "should do the right thing"???!!! He doesn't have a clue 'How to do the right thing'!!!!!!! And remember the city has to pay all these lawyer fees, correction THE TAXPAYERS do.
Someone (our impotent council? right) has to put a leash on Dictator Leighton and look real close at his reign.
Want to bet he wastes more of our money fighting this because, God knows, he can't take resonsiblity for his wrong doings or mistakes.

Dan Emplit WBFD
AKA Don Quixote

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