By Richard Rainey
Already struggling over how to pay a $17.5 million judgment to its firefighters’ pension fund, New Orleans could soon face another whopping bill, this one decades in the making.
Attorneys for Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city firefighters union are expected to square off today in Civil District Court over $75.5 million a judge ruled the city owes to more than 1,100 firefighters or their families for back pay earned between March 1990 and late 2006.
Louis Robein, an attorney for the union, asked Civil District Judge Kern Reese on June 30 to force city officials to come up with a pay plan. Assistant City Attorney Cashuana Hill responded that the administration is trying to do so.
Combined with the pension debt decision, the two judgments equal nearly a fifth of the city’s 2014 operating budget. And union representatives say they plan to demand another $54 million from the city to cover pension contribution shortfalls from 2010, 2011 and 2013. The $17.5 million only covers what Civil District Judge Robin Giarrusso deemed the city shorted the fund in 2012.
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