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POLICE BACK-PAY SUIT IS SETTLED AS COUNCIL VOTES ANOTHER $29,000

The Common Council on Wednesday completed a settlement of a back-pay lawsuit filed by the city's police union.

Two years ago, the city agreed to pay officers $52,000 they were owed for inspecting bingo games. On Wednesday, the Council agreed to pay another $29,000.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Allen D. Miskell said the city and the Hickory Club Police Benevolent Association recognized at the time of the first payment that it didn't cover the entire five-year period, 1993 to 1997, during which officers were shorted.

Miskell said patrolmen and detectives were paid a flat stipend for carrying out bingo inspections, when they should have been paid overtime at the standard time-and-a-half rate.

City Clerk Richard P. Mullaney said the stipend was $540.

The new settlement covers the difference between that and what the overtime would have been for three years for detectives and one year for patrolmen.

In other action, the Council voted to allow Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite to buy 59 air packs for firefighters to use in burning buildings.

The Council budgeted $45,000 for the purchase, instructing Passuite to buy as many units as he could. But the Council decided Wednesday to appropriate another $26,000 and let Passuite buy new breathing apparatus for the whole Fire Department.

Also Wednesday, the Council instructed Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano to take any legal action that might be needed to clear a mortgage lien on part of the South Block held by a company controlled by former owner Elmer A. Granchelli.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court awarded the city $529,000 in damages from Granchelli two weeks ago. Ottaviano said he expects to be back before the Council on March 7 seeking permission to issue a request for proposals from developers.

"We've had interest," he said.

On another topic, the Council voted to assign Public Works Commissioner Gary M. Andes to prepare a 10-year capital budget for parks improvements.

"We hope to have at least one park done a year," said Mayor Thomas C. Sullivan.

The Council approved a proposal from the Devil Dog Detachment of the Marine Corps League to install a new sign at Grossi Park and install a gazebo in Ida Fritz Park.

The aldermen hired Pyrotecnico to produce the Fourth of July fireworks, with 765 shells for $7,000. They also authorized bidding for replacement of water and sewer lines on Massachusetts Avenue.

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