SCRANTON — Scranton’s mayor announced Wednesday that all city workers will receive full pay when they get their paychecks on Friday.
In a move that received national attention, the mayor cut employees’ pay back to minimum wage for fear there wasn’t enough money to pay them.
Scranton’s business administrator said the city has just enough in its bank account to pay employees this week, and the little bit left over will go towards some of the city’s outstanding bills, but this week’s paychecks won’t include back pay owed to city employees, and city leaders said there’s no guarantee they won’t have to slash pay again.
Like the 400 or so city employees have been recently, it’s as if Scranton is surviving paycheck to paycheck.
“At this point yes, yes it would be. It’s unfortunate but we’re trying to do everything we can to move forward, and we’ve been working with council back and forth to try and get a recovery plan passed,” said Ryan McGowan, Scranton’s Business Administrator.
McGowan said until there is such a recovery plan, the city has a $16 million hole in its budget so Scranton has to scrape by week to week in order to make payroll. Because of tax revenue, Scranton has the $1 million needed to pay employees their normal wages this week. The few hundred thousand dollars left in the bank will go towards health coverage.
The news spread slowly to city employees, some who were given free lunches downtown as part of a promotion by radio station Rock 107. DPW workers having lunch said the payday will be a relief, but they’re preparing for wages to be cut again and are worried they’ll never see the back pay that is owed to them.
“Now that we know this is happening, save a little check to check, so we’re ok if something happens if we don’t get paid you know,” said Daniel Shea, of Scranton Department of Public Works.
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty has promised that all city employees will be paid retroactively. That can’t happen until that $16 million bank loan and another loan from the state are secured. That all hinges on the recovery plan that the mayor, city council, and a bank need to agree on.
McGowan said included in this week’s paycheck, city firefighters and police officers will receive the supreme court mandated pay raise they are supposed to receive every six months, but he also said city leaders can’t promise pay won’t be slashed to minimum wage again.