Scranton, Pennsylvania public employees salaries were reduced to minimum wage due to extreme budget deficits. The city is already facing two federal lawsuits over the emergency decision made last week, Vermont Public Radio reports. Public employee union leaders have asked Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse to hold Scranton’s Mayor Chris Doherty in contempt of court. Doherty cut the pay of all city pubic employees to $7.25 because of a $16.8 million “budget hole.”
“If they (city council) had gone with my budget, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The taxes would have been raised. The bill all would have been paid because we would have had a dedicated revenue stream,” Doherty stated during a public radio interview.
The Scranton public employees wage cuts were approved by the town council because Scranton can no longer pay its bills. A group of 10 former firefighters and police officers are suing the City of Scranton because they contend their wages were reduced without the hearing required by state law to make such a salary adjustment. A second federal lawsuit against Scranton was brought by a plethora of city department workers who feel the city council violated federal U.S. Labor laws when denying the option of overtime pay. Both lawsuits against Scranton seek to have the former wages restored of public employees restored, back pay and attorney fees, CBS News reports.
Scranton’s fiscal woes have been mounting for two decades. Mayor Doherty has a 29 percent property tax increase to fund the town’s operations to the end of the year and to bolster bank confidence to lend the city the funds necessary to get beyond the “current cash crunch,” Vermont Public Radio reports.