City Files Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit for City Raises

City Files Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit for City Raises

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It's Mobile's United Public Service Workers, Inc., versus the City of Mobile, its finance director and the mayor.

It's a lawsuit where union workers representing about 70 city employees are asking the court to force the mayor to give pay raises. You may remember, a pay increase of 2.5 percent was approved by the city council during the previous administration, but after Mayor Stimpson took office, he said the budget wasn't balanced, and scrapped the pay raises all together.

"The department heads have been in the process of forecasting the budget. Some of these departments are on their 10th, 11th, 12th revision. So it's not an easy process and really until we have all the numbers in and see where we are as a city really from a profit and loss standpoint, really it's premature to be making any speculation. Just grateful for what they do everyday," said Mayor Stimpson.

Regardless of the budget's outcome, the union group is asking that the court force the mayor to institute the pay raises. City Attorney Ricardo Woods says he's not surprised it's gotten this far.

"I am not. Typically what the judge does is give the plaintiff, which is the city workers and their group the power to be heard,: Woods said.

Woods has already filed a motion to dismiss their lawsuit. In a proposed order submitted to the judge, he said "...the court lacks jurisdiction to dictate the City's exercise of discretionary functions," that "Mobile City Council's approval of a budget does not create a legal duty for the city to make any payment to anyone of any kind," and  "the Mayor of Mobile may exercise his discretion in setting salaries."

I asked Woods if he thought the Union's stance has a chance, "That's up to a judge after hearing all the facts and all the evidence. we stand on our arguments in our motion to dismiss," said Woods.

Woods says he will address specific issues on whether he believes the case holds merit during the hearing scheduled for February 21st. I contacted the attorney representing the union workers and the president of the union, but my calls were not returned.

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