Talk about desperation. After losing an eight-year battle with the firefighters union, Mayor Jerry Abramson has instructed his crack legal team to attempt one final act of desperation to avoid paying the millions owed to firefighters in back pay. He’s using the ancient concept of “sovereign immunity” in Jefferson Circuit Court in an attempt to get the award thrown out.
Paying the bill could effectively clean out the city’s rainy day fund, which many Metro Council members advocated using to shore up the city’s budget. There’s at least $17.6 million at stake, and that number is likely to climb.
Sovereign immunity is simply a declaration that the government can’t be sued, a concept dating to the Middle Ages. It’s actually kind of funny in this case, given King Jerry’s whole “Mayor for Life” status. From Wikipedia:
Generally speaking it is the doctrine that the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution; hence the saying, the king (or queen) can do no wrong. In many cases, governments have waived this immunity to allow for suits; in some cases, an individual may technically appear as defendant on the state’s behalf.