By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – City Council has told Mayor Nutter to set aside $66 million for a new contract for the firefighters, even though Nutter’s legal challenge of the deal is not settled.

Mayor Nutter is still in court battling to stop an arbitration award to the firefighters for a contract period that began in 2009. Now, City Council has given initial approval to a bill that requires the mayor to set aside $66 million — what Council considers the minimal amount that firefighters will be owed once the matter is resolved.

Among those in support is Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez. “What Council is saying is, if its right, just do it, so we can move on. I think this particular issue for all of the labor unions is extremely demoralizing, and frustrating for all of us.”

The measure is expected to be approved later this month by the full Council. But it will likely only be symbolic; even if Council overrides the mayor’s expected veto, the lawmakers lack the authority to enforce the measure.

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