SCRANTON, Pa. – Hundreds of workers in Pennsylvania's sixth-largest city will get their full pay checks this week but Scranton's mayor said Wednesday there's no guarantee he won't again slash pay to the federal minimum wage.
Scranton public employees will see their pay checks restored to normal on Friday, though they won't include back pay they're owed from their July 6 checks, Mayor Chris Doherty said.
Two weeks ago Doherty cut the pay of about 400 workers to $7.25 per hour, prompting public employee unions to file legal challenges in county and federal courts.
Doherty ordered the pay cuts in defiance of a county judge's order requiring the workers to get their contractually mandated pay.
The mayor said at the time the city simply didn't have enough cash on hand to meet its normal bi-weekly payroll of about $1 million. Doherty said the city only had $83,000 available after the minimum wage paychecks totaling $311,000 went out.
The city council and Doherty are locked in a dispute over a financial recovery plan for the cash-strapped city. Both sides have said they're making progress in negotiations, trying to reach a deal by Aug. 1 to receive a no-interest loan of $2 million and a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.
Scranton faces a $16.8 million shortfall in its projected $85 million budget. The council has balked at Doherty's plan to increase property taxes and add a garbage collection fee to get bank loans to help pay bills and refinance debt.
The city of 76,000 lost an expensive court battle last year requiring it to pay millions in arbitration awards.