Court Hearing Met With Protest

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SCRANTON -- Scranton's lawyer and city treasurer were met with "boos" by firefighters heading into Lackawanna County court.

Mayor Chris Doherty didn't show up to the hearing that would have decided if he would be held in contempt of court.

This is the second time city labor unions took Doherty and his administration to court over the decision to cut pay to minimum wage.

That decision made news nationwide. And for the court hearing, brought hundreds of firefighters from across the country out to protest Mayor Doherty's handling of Scranton's financial crisis.

"The mayor's not doing his job, and his job is to enforce the budget that they passed, that's really what it boils down to. We're coming to work for $7.25 an hour doing our job we just expect the same out of them. They need to do their job too," said John Judge, President of Scranton's firefighter union.

The nearly 200 firefighters drove up from Philadelphia where the international union is holding its convention this week. Firefighters from as far away as Hawaii and Alaska picketed over Scranton's plight.

While inside, the judge postponed the hearing in order to give city administrators time to gather two years worth of financial documents. But, the judge said this court battle needs to end soon.

"This is too important for the taxpayers and future of the city to be squabbling over this in court," Judge Michael Barrasse said.

"We don't want to be in contempt of any court orders, we don't want to shortchange anybody their regular contractual pay. We're trying to comply, we need council to get on the same page with us," said Scranton City Solicitor Paul Kelly.

Kelly says Mayor Doherty is prepared to be in court next week at the judge's request.

City council members say the same. So, all of council and the mayor should be in the same room, albeit a courtroom, for the first time since this financial crisis started.

"I would hope we have a consensus on how we continue paying the employees, also a consensus and some ideas on eliminating this from happening in the future," said Councilman Jack Loscombe.

The hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday, July 31st at 10:15 am in Lackawanna County Court.