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Posted April 10, 2013 EST

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Firefighters File Suit Against Gautier
Gautier Firefighters Association Local 3290 filed suit Tuesday against the city over holiday pay. The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court. Attorney John Clark with Kerley and Clark in Pascagoula, representing the union, said one-third of the 27 union members have received no holiday pay, and the rest received only partial pay.

Firefighters work 24 hours, and one 24-hour period of work is considered one shift, according to their contract.

"A lot of our firefighters get no holiday pay and some only get a partial pay, while every other municipal employee is getting time off for holidays and getting paid," Clark said. "We're asking them to be treated fairly in accordance with state law and in accordance with their contract."

Clark said they have been working with city officials to try to resolve the issue, but there's no agreement. The only option left, he said, was for the association to file suit.

Gautier Mayor Tommy Fortenberry said the city has no comment at this time "until our city attorney reviews this lawsuit."

In the lawsuit, the association is requesting the city provide each union member and city employee 24 hours of holiday at straight time for employees not working during a holiday and 24 hours at time-and-a-half for employees working during a holiday.

In addition, the suit requests that firefighters receive holiday pay retroactive to the past three years, as well as legal fees.

"This is a matter of great importance not only to the Gautier firefighters but to the police union and police employees and also to every public safety employee across the state of Mississippi," Clark said.

Written by Sun Herald

Courtesy of