Sunday, December 28, 2014

Judge: Firefighters arbitration panel took city's finances into account

Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox on Friday released the written opinion for her November decision to reject the Nutter administration's appeal of an arbitration award for the city's firefighters union.

Judge: Firefighters arbitration panel took city's finances into account

Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox on Friday released the written opinion for her November decision to reject the Nutter administration's appeal of an arbitration award for the city's firefighters union. 

In turning away the city's argument that it cannot afford to pay the award, Fox wrote that the arbitration panel gave sufficient consideration to evidence about the city's financial constraints. It's not the courts' role, she reasoned, to question the panel's decision unless there's proof it didn't pay attention to relevant evidence.

The city is appealing Fox's decision to Commonwealth Court. It's the second trip up the appeals ladder for Nutter and Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Last time, the Common Pleas Court sent the dispute back to the arbitration panel, which slightly altered but largely kept intact its decision to award the firefighters retroactive pay raises and other benefits.

The union, which has been working without a contract since 2009, has bitterly protested Nutter's refusal to accept the panel's decisions. The administration, however, has maintained that accepting the awards would be too costly for the cash-strapped city. 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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