The Arkansas Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling
certifying a class action for a lawsuit by Conway police and firefighters
against the city over whether a sales tax increase had been used for their pay increases as promised.
Justice Rhonda Wood, who lives in Conway, wrote the opinion.
The city of Conway had argued that deciding the case as a class action was impractical. The Supreme Court rejected the argument.
Conway voters approved a sales tax in 2001 that the plaintiffs contend was supposed to go exclusively to fund city salaries. The city established a pay grid and improved the salary structure. Pay raises were given to employees through the grid through 2009, but not afteward, the lawsuit contends. The suit argues that departure from the grid is a breach of contract.
The court said it would be best for the 200 or so affected employees to have claims for pay heard in one forum rather than through multiple lawsuits.
The merits of the back pay claim have yet to be decided
and will be part of the action as the case returns to a lower court.