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The Louisville Metro Council approves funding for newest firefighter settlement

Thursday February 10, 2011

For Immediate Release:
Louisville Metro Council
Contact: Tony Hyatt 574-4137/526-3622
               Stephen Haag 574-1204/645-1752

On Thursday night, the Louisville Metro Council approved $14.3 million dollars to settle an outstanding lawsuit filed by retired Louisville Fire Fighters. The settlement is funded through a loan from the Louisville Water Company and taking money from the Rainy Day Fund.

Several members of the Metro Council have release the following statements:

“The Council’s approval of this settlement signals a new spirit of cooperation in Metro Louisville. We on the Council suggested a way to settle this case and Mayor Fischer worked to make it a reality. By settling this case now, we are saving tax dollars and not incurring more debt in the process. More importantly, this litigation is now behind us and all parties can move forward with the goal of keeping the public safe. While I had a role in this solution, there are many others who also took a realistic approach to ending this fight and they should be thanked for their effort.”

President Jim King, District 10

“I want to thank the Louisville Water Company for their willingness to partner with us in this settlement. This Council has always looked for practical financial ways to resolve these kinds of situations. I am ready to get this behind us and move forward.”

Councilwoman Madonna Flood Majority Leader District 24

“We appreciate the new mayor and his administration for taking care of a problem that should have been addressed months ago at far less expense to taxpayers. This agreement puts to an end years of mitigation and delay tactics by our previous mayor and helps to clear the way for Metro Government and its employees to move forward in addressing the ongoing needs of this community.”

Councilman Ken Fleming, Chair Minority Caucus District 7

“I am encouraged by this settlement action. I know there have been many people who have gone through a long ordeal and I think we are all ready to move forward. With this vote tonight, it is time to move forward and continue to keep the residents of Metro Louisville safe.”

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin District 2

“Many of us on the Metro Council have wanted a reasonable solution to these court cases. It is time to move forward. My “yes” vote comes after careful consideration and I applaud the effort to find a realistic way to settle this case while keeping in mind our available resources and future needs.”

Councilwoman Mary C. Woolridge District 3

“I am glad we are moving forward with closing out this chapter of the settlement process, it is time to look ahead and work together.”

Councilman David Tandy District 4

“I'm glad we are getting this embarrassment behind us. I pray that our new Mayor treats our public safety personnel with dignity and respect. To drag our firefighters, who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us and our families, through this ordeal is shameful. Using tax payer dollars at a cost of $4600.00 per day in interest after losing in courts the 1st time in 1985 is a travesty. It is a sad waste of funds that could have been used for greater benefit elsewhere in this community. “

Councilman David James District 6

"While I support this effort as a one time solution, there are some concerns. I would not want to see us get into the habit of borrowing from ourselves to get out of any financial problem that pops up. There must be the promise of restraint and the willpower to keep some of our resources as dividends and not as payments.”

Councilman Tom Owen District 8

“I am glad the issue has been resolved and I regret that it has taken years for us to reach this point. I am also encouraged that the Mayor has addressed this problem so quickly in his new administration and I’m hoping this is an indication of his desire to negotiate rather than litigate genuine differences that will arise in the future.”

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh District 9

“The swift action today hopefully brings to a close the seemingly endless efforts to avoid paying a lawsuit the city lost several years ago. I am grateful that the new mayor has moved so quickly to put this litigation behind us.”

Councilman Kevin Kramer District 11

“It is with utmost importance that we move swiftly to repay the Firefighters for overtime pay that is due them. I am thrilled that the Louisville Water Co. is in a position to allow the city to borrow the $10 million needed for this payment. This debt has cost the city millions over the past 10 years, and it is time to finish the payment to close this chapter on our books.”

Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch District 13

“I support the efforts of Metro Government to find another way to settle this longstanding legal grievance. The fact that we were able to settle this obligation without additional bonds, and with a payment plan that saves taxpayers from huge interest payments, lives up to the type of plan I supported last year, when I sought to prevent some from having our children and grandchildren pay for mistakes made by our previous mayor and his administration.”

Councilman Jon Ackerson District 18

“I think it is a good settlement done in a responsible way that resolves this situation.”

Councilman Dan Johnson District 21

“I’m pleased to work with the new administration to finally resolve this obligation to our firefighters.”

Councilman David Yates District 25