Council advised to not discuss reversal pay cuts - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council advised to not discuss reversal of police and fire pay cuts

(WMC-TV) - In an effort to reverse a cut in their pay, Memphis fire and police union members crowded a Memphis City Council committee meeting room Tuesday.  

But the meeting was over before it began.

The unions are suing the city for cutting some of their benefits, including a 4.6 percent across the board salary cut. Public outcry convinced the council to consider reversing last month's vote.

But before the discussion began, the item was taken off the agenda on the advice of city attorney Alan Wade.

"It's always best to wait unless you want to undermine your legal position," Wade said.

Council member Janis Fullilove commented on the number of people supporting the reversal of the budget cuts.

"It's certainly something that doesn't sit well with me personally, and as you can see,all the firefighters - retired and present workers here - it certainly didn't sit well with them either," Fullilove said.

But because a lawsuit has been filed, the city attorney said, opinion must be reserved for the courtroom.  

"So those that speak publicly, that would be thrown right in our face in a lawsuit, and you don't try lawsuits that way," he said.

Union members said they are willing to try to work out their differences outside the courts.

Even some of our people have talked about that, restore the 4.6 and we'll be fine with that," said Perry Cathey of the Memphis Firefighter's Association.

"We do not want to go forward with the lawsuit, but they leave us no options, because they don't want to discuss it," added Michael Williams of the Memphis Police Association.

After Tuesday's meeting, it appeared any further discussion would be reserved for the courtroom.

An opinion from the federal court regarding that lawsuit filed by the unions is due back on August 8. Union members hope the courts lean in their favor and force the city to reinstate those cuts.

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