Contempt Proceedings Against Michigan Mayor Continued

It would appear that Taylor, Michigan Mayor Jeffrey Lamarand may not be facing his second contempt citation in the past two years after all. The mayor is accused to disobeying an October 15, 2013 court order to pay $730,000 to 32 firefighters who were illegally laid off.

The case arose when Lamarand ordered the layoff of 32 of Tayor’s 53 firefighters in violation of the collective bargaining agreement with IAFF Local 1252. When the fire department was successful in obtaining an AFG SAFER grant to rehire the 32 firefighters Lamarand refused to accept it. That prompted the city council to sue him in an effort to force the issue.

The city council prevailed in the suit, and a judge ordered Lamarand to accept the grant and rehire the laid off firefighters. When Lamarand refused, he was found to be in contempt of court. On the eve of him potentially being sentenced to prison, Lamarand relented. That was 2012.

Last Friday was to be the day that Lamarand had to face the judge again for being in contempt of his order to pay the firefighters $730,000. However, the parties have agreed to continue the case to November 22, 2013. According to IAFF Local 1252 President George Quiroz, negotiations with Mayor-elect Rick Sollars are close to resolving the payment issue that Lamarand had thus-far refused to negotiate.

The News-Herald quoted President Quiroz “We have had much better communication with Sollars.”

More on the story.

Incidentally…

  • Taylor, Michigan
  • North Kingstown, Rhode Island
  • Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

Three communities where elected officials have embarked on an ideological jihad against their firefighters and after painfully drawn out legal proceedings have been found to have violated established collective bargaining laws. At each juncture when they lose, these officials find a way to keep their jihad going. In the process these ideological anti-employee anti-collective bargaining jihads have cost the taxpayers in these communities hundreds of thousands of dollars… but they have cost the elected officials nothing.

Elected officials take an oath to uphold the law… not violate laws they philosophically disagree with… If someone disagrees with a law (such as one that gives firefighters a right to collectively bargain) they have a right to advocate and lobby for the law to be changed. They should do this by expending their own personal funds and lobbying the appropriate legislative body.

What happened in these three communities was elected officials sought to advance their own political ideology by violating settled law and they forced the taxpayers to foot the bill. Its time for a change.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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