EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSCITY VS. FIREFIGHTERS
from Eyewitness News Online
City Of Charleston Asks Federal Judge To Intervene In Firefighter Pay Battle
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Feb. 2, 2012 10:44 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 2, 2012 11:12 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
The city of Charleston takes the ongoing protest of firefighter wages to federal court.
It's a battle that's been brewing between the city and members of the Charleston Fire Department since late last year after the city determined they were overpaying firefighters for overtime based on a faulty formula.
The controversy debates what is the correct way to calculate hourly, overtime and holiday wages for the firefighters.
On Thursday, the city filed a federal request asking a judge to look at the case and determine what formula and method is correct for paying Charleston firefighters.
The city changed the method in November.
The city says in the last 10 fiscal years, it unnecessarily paid in excess of $1.4 million to its firefighters in hourly and overtime wages that were not required under applicable Fair Labor Standards Act.
Since the new formula went into effect in November, the city has received letters from more than 70 of it's firefighters challenging the way they are now being paid.
Mayor Danny Jones says it comes down to one thing, pensions, and if they continued paying on the faulty formula, the city would go broke.
"We could have let it slide but this city in about 15 years wouldn't have been able to pave a road, open a community center. It'd be worse than Huntington, and we decided to deal with it and the legislature passed a law that put us under a new formula and we have to come up with the money to pay for it," said Jones.
Charleston Fire Chief Chuck Overstreet tells Eyewitness News he thinks it's a good thing the matter will be looked at in federal court.
Myron Boggess, President of the Local 317 Professional Firefighters will not comment at this time. Their lawyer, Pat Maroney Sr. did not return a call for comment.
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