City To Borrow Money To Pay For Firefighter Lawsuit Settlement
By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 23, 2012 9:30PM
The Emanuel administration announced today it needed to borrow nearly $80 million to cover the cost of a lawsuit settlement over discriminatory hiring practices at the Chicago Fire Department.
The city agreed in August 2011 to settle a lawsuit brought by 6,000 black firefighter candidates who claimed they were discriminated against in a 1995 firefighters entrance exam. The city agreed to hire 111 firefighters from the pool of 6,000 and pay out $45 million in damages
But the payout turned out to be almost double that, once pay raises for firefighters since 1995 were accounted for, and the settlement amount now stands at $78.4 million. It isn't supposed to be a budget buster, though. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city will sell off bonds to cover the settlement amount.
“We bonded for this back in, I think, the spring or summer of 2012, so it wouldn’t impact the budget, so it could be balanced,” the mayor said. “On the other hand, I made sure we also brought a class of firefighters - African-American firefighters - in, and they’ll be graduating soon, and I want to make sure, again, that the practices and policies of the past don’t ever repeat themselves.”