The infamous city of Scanton, PA has had financial troubles for a couple of decades - losing population since the end of WWII - but as NPR reported this weekend, the $16.8 million budget gap that Mayor Chris Doherty is trying to fill (and the disagreements between his taxation proposal and the city council's borrow-more-money view) has driven the mayor to an incredible action. Doherty has reduced everyone's pay - including his own - to the state's minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In an ironic choice of words, the desperate mayor noted: "I'm trying to do the best I can with the limited amount of funds that I have," Doherty says, "I want the employees to get paid. Our people work hard — our police and fire — I just don't have enough money and I can't print it in the basement." NPR continues, After paying workers Friday, the city had only about $5,000 left in the bank. More money flowed into city accounts that day, but it was still not enough to pay the $1 million the city still owes to its nearly 400 employees.
This is, of course, stressful on the union workers affected as one notes: "[The] kids aren't going to be able to do certain activities this summer — maybe we're not going to be able to go on vacation" (to Italy we wonder?) adding that (via HuffPo), "With Scranton and Pennsylvania being such a hot bed for the next election, we want to make sure that they know there's a Democratic mayor that's not taking care of his public safety unions,". The unions plan to be back in court first thing Monday morning to ask the judge to hold Doherty in contempt. It seems municipalties across the country are increasingly turning to austerity measures to tackle their budget gaps and protect bond-holders (until they finally become Stockton, CA).