Ohio paramedic files temporary restraining order to block pay cuts

Maumee Paramedic Dawn Sniadecki filed a complaint over the 5% pay decrease for all city employees


Kate Snyder
The Blade, Toledo, Ohio

MAUMEE, Ohio — A temporary restraining order was filed against the city of Maumee to prevent Mayor Richard Carr from imposing a 5 percent pay decrease for all city employees to offset millions in financial loss because of the pandemic.

The complaint was filed Friday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. The plaintiff, Dawn Sniadecki, is the former president of IAFF Local 4536 and a paramedic employed by the city, but Andrew Mayle, Ms. Sniadecki’s attorney, said she filed the complaint as a private taxpayer.

In the complaint, Ms. Sniadecki and her attorney argue that per city law, emergency powers do not allow the mayor to order wage decreases. Additionally, the mayor ordered paramedics to take a wage decrease for 32 pay periods while other personnel were ordered to take a wage reduction for 26 pay periods.

“They just wanted to affect a fundamental feature of the contract unilaterally,” Mr. Mayle said.

Mr. Mayle said they are requesting the court to define the scope of Maumee’s municipal code concerning the mayor’s emergency powers, declare that the mayor lacks power to order wage reductions, and to prevent the mayor’s order for wage reductions for paramedics.

The TRO expires on June 1, but it could be extended, Mr. Mayle said, and a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for June 5.

“I want to be treated fairly and respectfully for the danger I am in every day,” Ms. Sniadecki said in a statement. “I want the same for my fellow paramedics and fire inspectors.”

Mayor Carr said he wasn’t concerned about the TRO because the city will get its chance to present evidence during the hearing. It’s possible, he said, that the eventual outcome could be a reduction in force if not a reduction in pay.

“That’s really the only other alternative,” he said.

The pay reduction came after Mayor Carr ordered the elimination of several positions from a number of city departments, including police and fire, to offset the estimated millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The decision to do pay reductions and eliminate pay raises was outlined in agreements with various unions that cover city employees, including the police and the service employees, Mayor Carr said. Union officials for the fire division met previously with the city but have not reached an agreement, the mayor said.

Through the pay reduction, reduction of overtime, eliminating pending pay raises, attrition, and shuffling certain jobs, only two people — a commissioner of public service and a clerk in the finance division — have been laid off from their employment, Mayor Carr said.

Maumee's operations budget is about $19 million, Mayor Carr previously said, and revenue from income tax is down $1.2 million just in April. Officials have been projecting a deficit of $2 million to $3 million in just a few months. The estimated total revenue loss could be at least $3 million to $4 million.

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©2020 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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