Attorneys for the city of Mobile met representatives of the Mobile United Public Service Workers in court this morning during a hearing on a motion to dismiss a case against the city for wages lost when Mayor Sandy Stimpson rescinded a pay raise promised by the previous administration.
Mobile Circuit Court Judge Sarah Stewart asked both sides to draw up orders on the motion to determine whether the claim is valid. Stewart gave the parties a deadline of April 4.
A group of about 63 municipal employees filed a restraining order Jan. 13 against Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Finance Director Paul Wesch, claiming the mayor broke protocol Dec. 30 by canceling a 2.5 percent pay raise budgeted by the previous administration. In an email to employees explaining the decision, Stimpson said he couldn’t recommend a raise until “critical budget shortfalls” were addressed.
Yesterday, Stimpson released a revised budget he said would put the city on “sound financial footing” and a path to pay raises. It will be reviewed by the City Council’s Finance Committee next Tuesday before it is placed on a future council agenda. Stimpson will need five members of the seven-member council to support the revised budget for it to pass.
“From our understanding, there has never been in recent memory a situation where an outgoing mayor has left a raise that was not implemented by the incoming mayor,” said Phillip Leslie, who is representing the group. “The only settlement the people I represent are looking for is the enforcement of the agreement to give the raise.”
Leslie said it was his understanding that if Stewart voted in their favor, the raise would be extended to all employees, not just the ones who are represented in the lawsuit. If Stewart voted against the raise, Leslie said he would have to discuss legal options with his clients before deciding to appeal.
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