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SIX CITY EMPLOYEES WIN REPRIEVES FROM FIRING

Six city employees ousted from their jobs won a 10-day reprieve in State Supreme Court Wednesday.

Five of the six staffers were scheduled to lose their jobs Friday and the sixth, next week. The city issued 60-day notices to the employees last August.

The jobs were cut by Mayor Margaret Wuerstle in a plan to trim $500,000 in personnel costs. Local 2693, United Steelworkers of America, sued on behalf of the six employees. Wednesday's ruling by Justice Joseph Gerace ordered a hearing to be held on the jobs with the next 10 days.

The jobs include sanitary chemist, chief operator of the water-filtration plant and water pollution-control plants, head of the water-distribution system, supervisor of water-meter readers and director of recreation and Youth Bureau.

Mayor Wuerstle has appointed the water-meter supervisor as acting deputy director of public works. Employees at both utilities would report to him.

"We're going to fight for the jobs," said Anthony Marzullo, president of Local 2693.

"Louis Thomas (director of Region 4 of the USWA) said find out where the legalities are to protect the people. We are set on keeping jobs. We appreciate the help of people in the city to keep those jobs," he added.

During Tuesday night's meeting of the Common Council, it was questioned if the mayor had the sole authority to abolish the jobs. The City Charter gives the Council the power to create positions, but does not say anything about abolishing them.

The mayor on Monday directed a letter to the state attorney general's office seeking an opinion on the issue.

Mayor Wuerstle, who received Gerace's decision Wednesday afternoon, said she will comment after reviewing it.

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