Billings City Councilors and Mayor Tom Hanel are expected to decide today whether or not to appeal a judge’s ruling requiring the city to pay over $2.7 to more than 140 police officers.  The meeting begins at 6:30 this evening at City Hall.  Park County District Court Judge Brenda Gilbert ruled on September 8th that the city owes wages and benefits related to how they calculated longevity pay.  The city is liable for over a million dollars in penalties, plus attorneys’ fees and plaintiffs’ costs.  Billings has already spent almost $300,000 in attorneys’ fees on the lawsuit filed in 2009.
Councilors are split on whether to take the case to the Montana Supreme Court.  The city, not their insurer, would be liable for the entire amount of the judgment.  An appeal means additional attorneys’ fees for the city.  City Administrator Tina Volek’s new contract is also up for consideration.