Not even Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin fame would pull the kind of controversial stunt the mayor of Scranton, PA. has.

Last week, Chris Doherty slashed the salaries of every single one of the city’s 398 employees — including Scranton’s police and firefighters — to the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Doherty’s rational for the unprecedented city-wide cut is that Scranton faces a $16.8 million budget deficit, owes over $3.4 million to vendors, but only has $133,000 of cash on hand. To make matters even worse, they can’t find a bank that will lend them any more money.

Nevertheless, the city’s employees are outraged that they are now going to be taking home a fraction of the pay they signed up for.

“The teenagers who work at the ice cream stand not far from my house, they make $8.50 an hour — that’s a dollar and a quarter more than I now make,” vented John J. Judge IV, who is the president of Scranton’s firefighters’ union.

Judge’s International Association of Firefighters Local 60 is one of three unions that have filed a motion in federal court demanding Doherty pay them their full wages.

With other cities and municipalities facing similar budget crunches, this scenario may will play out in other places around the country in the coming months.

[The New York Times]