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Scranton's Public Workers Now Paid Minimum Wage
NPR ^ | July 7, 2012 | JEFF BRADY

Posted on 07/08/2012 3:05:32 PM PDT by kingattax

The city of Scranton, Pa., sent out paychecks to its employees Friday, like it does every two weeks. But this time the checks were much smaller than usual. Mayor Chris Doherty has reduced everyone's pay — including his own — to the state's minimum wage: $7.25 an hour.

Doherty says his city has run out of money.

Scranton has had financial troubles for a couple of decades — the town has been losing population since the end of World War II. But the budget problems became more serious in recent months as the mayor and the city council fought over how to balance the budget.

Doherty wants to raise taxes to fill a $16.8-million gap. The city council wants to take a different approach and borrow money. City council members did not respond to NPR's requests to discuss the dispute.

"I'm trying to do the best I can with the limited amount of funds that I have," Doherty says, "I want the employees to get paid. Our people work hard — our police and fire — I just don't have enough money and I can't print it in the basement."

After paying workers Friday, the city had only about $5,000 left in the bank. More money flowed into city accounts that day, but it was still not enough to pay the $1 million the city still owes to its nearly 400 employees.

Scranton's public workers received a few days' warning this was coming. John Judge, a firefighter and president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 60, typically receives about $1,500 every two weeks, after deductions. On Friday his check was less than $600 — before deductions.

"Don't know how I'm going to pay bills at home. I may be able to stave it off for a little while," Judge says. "[The] kids aren't going to be able to do certain activities this summer — maybe we're not going to be able to go on vacation."

The firefighters' union, along with the police and public works unions, have taken the city to court. Lackawanna County Judge Michael Barrasse issued an injunction, essentially agreeing with the unions that the city was breaking the law, but Doherty says he doesn't have another choice. Despite the injunction, he had the city send out paychecks based on minimum wage.

The unions plan to be back in court first thing Monday morning to ask the judge to hold Doherty in contempt.

There's been no love lost between Doherty and the public employee unions because of this battle; they've already spent the past decade in a legal dispute over pay that went all the way to the state supreme court. Both sides come to this latest battle with plenty of baggage and hard feelings. But with nearly 400 city workers receiving a fraction of the pay they typically get, pressure is building to resolve the issue soon.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
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1 posted on 07/08/2012 3:05:43 PM PDT by kingattax
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To: kingattax
If It was $3.25 an hour: the tax payers would finally get their monies worth!
2 posted on 07/08/2012 3:09:13 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: kingattax

Don’t know, but it sounds like a stunt. Once the tax money comes in, they’ll pay them back.


3 posted on 07/08/2012 3:11:02 PM PDT by BobL
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To: kingattax
If It was $3.25 an hour: the tax payers would finally get their monies worth!
4 posted on 07/08/2012 3:12:53 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: kingattax
IF Pennsylvania was a person, Philadelphia would be the anal orifice and Scranton would be the armpit. This is the hometown of Bob Casey, Jr., BO's very own rubber stamp.

Allentown, located in the same general region of the state, and hometown of our other U.S. Senator, Pat Toomey, has a similar industrial history to Scranton but does not elect many Democrat politicians.

I suppose it is just a coincidence that Allentown is a well-governed and fiscally sound community.

5 posted on 07/08/2012 3:13:00 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: kingattax

Interesting...moreso because he’s a Democrat. And Scranton is Casey Country. I wonder if Tom Smith (R candidate for Senate) will pay a visit..


6 posted on 07/08/2012 3:13:11 PM PDT by SueRae (See it? Hell, I can TASTE November from my house!)
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To: kingattax

You can’t get blood out of a turnip. Without a court injunction.


7 posted on 07/08/2012 3:15:26 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.)
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To: kingattax

when re they gonna cut their welfare benefits?


8 posted on 07/08/2012 3:16:21 PM PDT by camle (keep an open mind and someone will fill it full of something for you)
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To: Jim from C-Town

Wait, you mean getting paid a fat salary with generous benefits with the ability to retire at age 48 with full pension and benefits isn’t a Human Right?


9 posted on 07/08/2012 3:20:36 PM PDT by Tea Party Terrorist (Fast & Furious: Proof the Government should not have access to guns)
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To: kingattax

A quick internet search shows that Christopher Doherty is a democrat who loves trees and hates babies.


10 posted on 07/08/2012 3:20:55 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: kingattax

Basically, they will never get it until they are strung up and hanged.
The city is out of MONEY. What is a judge going to do?
Conjure it up?
Raising taxes won’t increase revenue for more than a nanosecond.


11 posted on 07/08/2012 3:21:51 PM PDT by bill1952 (Choice is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: kingattax
"Don't know how I'm going to pay bills at home. I may be able to stave it off for a little while," Judge says. "[The] kids aren't going to be able to do certain activities this summer — maybe we're not going to be able to go on vacation."

Join the club, you whining son of a...

12 posted on 07/08/2012 3:23:17 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: kingattax
Hey! Scranton public employees!

Deal with it!

The City is broke!

Any Union contract is worth nothing more used toilet paper.

Be happy you're getting the money you are and even the mayor is getting the same amount.

13 posted on 07/08/2012 3:26:25 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer

14 posted on 07/08/2012 3:28:13 PM PDT by 4Liberty (88% of Americans are NON-UNION. We value honest, peaceful Free trade-NOT protectionist CARTELS)
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To: kingattax

I wonder how many public union employee were laid off to try meet the budget shortfall.....my guess none...


15 posted on 07/08/2012 3:28:20 PM PDT by Popman (When you elect a clown: expect a circus...)
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To: kingattax

They should jump over into the privare sector, it’s doing fine, according to Joe Weisenrthal as well as BO.


16 posted on 07/08/2012 3:29:11 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: kingattax

Los Angeles and San Francisco should do the same thing.


17 posted on 07/08/2012 3:29:11 PM PDT by RC2 (Buy American and support the Wounded Warrior Project whenever possible.)
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To: Vigilanteman

I think plugs was born there.


18 posted on 07/08/2012 3:31:48 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: kingattax

Columnist with a little more about the city’s current budget plans:
http://thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/editorials-columns/christopher-j-kelly/kelly-column-stay-tuned-for-absurdity-disaster-in-scranton-1.1340584
“... the city doesn’t own its stormwater management system and never did. This matters because selling it to the Scranton Sewer Authority for $5 million was a central component of Mayor Chris Doherty’s financial recovery plan. He apparently did not know that the SSA owns the system, making it a tough sell, even for a salesman as slick as Mr. Doherty.

The city council “supermajority” led by President Janet Evans was apparently as clueless as the administration. The impossible sale of an asset the city doesn’t own was the lone element of Mr. Doherty’s plan that Mrs. Evans and Co. supported.”


19 posted on 07/08/2012 3:33:56 PM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer

“You can’t get blood out of a turnip. Without a court injunction.”

The thing of it is, you can’t get blood out of a turnip even with a court injunction.


20 posted on 07/08/2012 3:34:44 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: Tea Party Terrorist

‘Wait, you mean getting paid a fat salary with generous benefits with the ability to retire at age 48 with full pension and benefits isn’t a Human Right?’

You forgot free healthcare. But it is only a right if you where able to get a job with the government.


21 posted on 07/08/2012 3:36:01 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: kingattax

Maybe Scranton would do better if they changed the name of the city.


22 posted on 07/08/2012 3:36:24 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: kingattax

You are far too generous. If you were the mayor I recommend that you were fired! $3.25 per hour? How about they start paying back years of bloodsucking the taxpayers (as in negative pay)?


23 posted on 07/08/2012 3:38:19 PM PDT by tbd108
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To: kingattax

Well I’ve predicted that CA, IL, and NY will get federally guaranteed state bonds courtesy of Baraq.

Maybe need to add PA to the list?


24 posted on 07/08/2012 3:39:00 PM PDT by nascarnation
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To: jocon307

“The thing of it is, you can’t get blood out of a turnip even with a court injunction.”

But then you can hold the turnip in contempt.


25 posted on 07/08/2012 3:49:15 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: kingattax
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Hope Dunder Mifflin doesn't go under!!
26 posted on 07/08/2012 3:57:31 PM PDT by peggybac
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To: Vigilanteman

Scranton is also Joe Biden’s birthplace.


27 posted on 07/08/2012 4:05:08 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: peggybac

Here in the capitol of MO, we always hear the lament as to how our state workers are ‘underpaid’ and deserve a raise since they haven’t had one recently...umm, neither have many others either, but that’s beside the point.

I’ve always said that we’ll know when state workers are ‘underpaid’ when we have trouble finding people to take the state jobs...but right now, the state is at 100% employment.

Personally, I’d cut the entire state’s work force’s pay by 10% per year until I had a 5%-10% job turnover rate per year or a 2-5% state job opening rate...then, I’d know that state workers were ‘underpaid’.


28 posted on 07/08/2012 4:05:18 PM PDT by Ethrane ("obsta principiis")
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To: wideminded

I was offered a job just North of Scranton about 15 years ago.

Drove around while I was working on a project in the area - depressing even then.

Politely declined.

Cool train museum and hotel though....


29 posted on 07/08/2012 4:06:38 PM PDT by NY.SS-Bar9
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To: wideminded

Original name was Slocum, IIRC. The city’s present name came from George W. Scranton, founder of Lackawanna Steel and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad.


30 posted on 07/08/2012 4:10:39 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: kingattax

Why should any public employee outside of the Dept of Defense get anything more? Its just the government.


31 posted on 07/08/2012 4:14:53 PM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: kingattax

Scranton is a classic example of what happens under Democrat control.

City withholding taxes are at 3.4% versus adjacent cities collecting 1%. The Real Estate transfer tax is currently 4.3% versus the 2% in surrounding communities. The city has been studying an additional “commuter tax”.

This is a city where the median income for a household is $28,800.00.

Scranton is the answer to whether a city can tax it’s way to prosperity.

If it wasn’t for the University of Scranton, the city wouldn’t exist.


32 posted on 07/08/2012 4:30:49 PM PDT by Rational Thought
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To: Ethrane

You have the correct approach.

It’s tough love and kind to both the taypayers and to the public employees.


33 posted on 07/08/2012 4:41:10 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Liberals, at their core, are aggressive & dangerous to everyone around them,)
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To: peggybac
"Ain't no party like a Scranton party 'cause a Scranton part don't stop." - Michael Scott, 2007

"We're broke. Party's over." - Chris Doherty, 2012

34 posted on 07/08/2012 5:01:32 PM PDT by Rokurota
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To: kingattax
"Doherty says his city has run out of money."

---But has not run out of Obama supporters.

35 posted on 07/08/2012 5:20:47 PM PDT by Mark (Don't argue with my posts. I typed while under sniper fire..)
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To: Rational Thought

Well, Doherty had proposed a 78% (!!!) property tax increase, and council rejected it out of hand. I live in Scranton, and as people have said, it’s been a one-party town for decades. A couple Dems temporarily switched for political reasons. But right now, our three county commissioners are all Democrats; one ran as a Republican, and b/c he is Irish, enough Republicans were fool enough to nominate him.
How does a small city get hundreds of millions of dollars in debt without rampant corruption? It doesn’t. Bob


36 posted on 07/08/2012 5:42:08 PM PDT by alstewartfan (Two broken Tigers on fire in the night Flicker their souls to the wind. Al Stewart "Roads to Moscow")
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To: Jim from C-Town

God I hope you never have a fire and need those firemen. I can’t believe people on here. The fire and police are worth more than 3 bucks you jerk.


37 posted on 07/08/2012 5:51:29 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator
I can’t believe people on here. The fire and police are worth more than 3 bucks you jerk.

I got blasted in freepmail over wanting to pay the fire and police dept. We have areas in CA (and I'm sure other parts of the country) where the fired dept gets SHOT at while trying to do their jobs.

Those services are always threatened or cut first because the general public knows they need them. Result: a lot of screaming and a raise in taxes. Our taxes.

38 posted on 07/08/2012 5:57:38 PM PDT by SCalGal (Friends don't let friends donate to H$U$ or PETA.)
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To: napscoordinator

over 70% of all firemen are volunteers, the rest are unionized extortionists.

As for MOST they are fine. Had it not been for their excessive union dem,ands and benefitst the ity might be able to pay them a reasonable wage.

Go pound salt. jag off!


39 posted on 07/08/2012 5:58:42 PM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: alstewartfan

For YEARS, when a city employee was going to retire up there, said City employee called the insurance broker said “I’m retiring next week.” Broker would automatically put him on permanent disability for the best breakdown of money paid out.As recently as 14 years ago, there more permanent disabilities employees than there were regular retirement employees.


40 posted on 07/08/2012 6:14:09 PM PDT by Safetgiver
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To: kingattax

Over in DUmmyland, the blame is being given to the governor of PA.


41 posted on 07/08/2012 6:15:15 PM PDT by fatboy (This protestant will have no part in the ecumenical movement)
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To: napscoordinator

I am sure he was being facetious referencing $3/hr.

But public employees are only truly worth what the market SHOULD bear, not a penny more...if that is not the case then the public’s money is being misspent.

How many states are having difficulties finding people to take the public sector jobs? Any? How many private sector workers get the option to retire mid-50’s with full benefits and health care? WHO pays for the public sector worker’s retirement anyway?

If not, then they are not underpaid


42 posted on 07/08/2012 6:28:03 PM PDT by Ethrane ("obsta principiis")
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To: napscoordinator

I am sure he was being facetious referencing $3/hr.

But public employees are only truly worth what the market SHOULD bear, not a penny more...if that is not the case then the public’s money is being misspent.

How many states are having difficulties finding people to take the public sector jobs? Any? How many private sector workers get the option to retire mid-50’s with full benefits and health care? WHO pays for the public sector worker’s retirement anyway?

If not, then they are not underpaid


43 posted on 07/08/2012 6:28:03 PM PDT by Ethrane ("obsta principiis")
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To: Jim from C-Town

Again....you are just a jerk. You live high off the hog while your firemen live on minimum wage. Nice.


44 posted on 07/08/2012 6:28:44 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: Ethrane

Only people retiring at the upper 50 range are Fireman and Police. Maybe some teachers until the new rules take affect after the baby boomers FINALLY get the hell out of the way. Can’t wait for that day. Complete ruination of this country. Baby Boomers caused more problems than they are worth. Worst generation ever. Anyway I don’t want a 70 year old fireman or policeman....Absolutely not and that is what mr. idiot was basically saying....who can retire making minimum wage? No one. Why do you have all these old folks taking orders at Mc D’s and other places? They can’t live on minimum wage.


45 posted on 07/08/2012 6:32:19 PM PDT by napscoordinator
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To: napscoordinator

Not here in MO..not by a long shot. google ‘80 and out’...


46 posted on 07/08/2012 7:01:14 PM PDT by Ethrane ("obsta principiis")
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To: kingattax

Scranton is right on the edge of the Marcellus Shale boom.

It is a natural hub for the energy explosion in Northeast PA, but as others have said taxes have something to do with keeping Scranton from enjoying some of the boom. If you have to pay 3.8% income tax to live within the city limits, that keeps gas company employees who are having a hard time finding rental housing out.

If folks are willing to commute from Hawley to Towanda to work in the hat gas industry, they would be even more willing to do so from Scranton since it is so much closer.

Also if the DRBC would get off its butt and end the moratorium on drilling in parts of Lackawanna and all of Wayne Counties, that might also make a difference.


47 posted on 07/09/2012 4:29:36 AM PDT by finnsheep
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To: kingattax

Clearly it’s time to raise taxes.


48 posted on 07/09/2012 5:09:13 AM PDT by jmaroneps37 (Conservatism is truth. Liberalism is lies.)
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To: mrsmith
LOL.

quiet, Geniuses at work.

49 posted on 07/09/2012 5:51:18 AM PDT by Loyal Buckeye
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To: napscoordinator; Ethrane
Stick it! Very few private sector workers get the amazing benefits and working hours of a firefighter. They have it so tough working a whole seven days a month.

They work 24 on 48 off with all having full time jobs on the side where they make as much or more than they do at the public sector trough. They get to retire, often in their forties or fifties, with lifetime income and benefits including health insurance.

In the mean time they are in competition with all the tradesmen and small businesses like carpentry, concrete, construction and often real estate and insurance. They have the advantage of not having to pay for their own benefits like health insurance and retirement and undercut their competition. This takes money out of the average citizens pocket, you know the ones that pay their salary!

The fact is that outside of some large cities, it is highly unlikely that most firemen fight more than one fire a year, if that, and of those many are set for their own training. Yet they constantly put on the mantle of everyday hero as if they where all running up the stairs at the World Trade Center every day they went to work. When in reality they are trading time, padding their overtime and spending most of their time at the firehouse as a spring board for their second jobs and putting in time to retirement.

Enough already! Firemen are no different and often worse than every other public employee. They tend to be extra lazy and remarkably corrupt in their time keeping and their training records.

Like I said MOST firefighters are volunteers. The rest are union goons who use the city they work for and treat the ordinary tax payer like patsies.

As for fighting fires: That is what they are paid to do! Many jobs are dangerous, often some of the most dangerous pay the least amount of money and receive the least amount of respect. When the firefighters start working shifts like everyone else and give up all their part time/full time side jobs, I will start to worry about their pay. Until then they have all those other jobs to supplement their income while the city gets its' finances in order and of course, they lounge around on their lazy boys watching TV and making dinner.

50 posted on 07/09/2012 7:02:50 AM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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