Councilman trying to pin down how much firefighters’ back pay will cost Philly

A Philadelphia city councilman wants to know precisely what a disputed arbitration award to city firefighters might end up costing.

The contract dispute has dragged on since 2009. Last summer, the city appealed an arbitration award that officials felt favored the firefighters.


Councilman David Oh has convinced his colleagues to hold hearings to nail down what the eventual cost might be.

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“One number we hear is $200 million, another number we hear is $64 million, that’s a very large difference in between,” Oh said Thursday. “My concern is that as we look at the budget and the fact that we have several unidentified liabilities that are going to fall onthe taxpayers, what we don’t want to do is be caught by surprise at the last minute.”

The Nutter administration would not comment, because the case is in court.

Oh sees ways around that silence.

“They don’t have to talk about it,” he says. “The city controller says he has the number and he can identify something. We have other ways to look at what the number may be.”

A hearing date has not be set.

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