PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A city judge has postponed a hearing on the dispute between the Nutter administration and the firefighters’ union over whether paramedics can stay in the union.  Both sides are trying to settle this out of court.

The hearing on the paramedics’ dispute has now been put off until November 1st while both the administration and the firefighters’ union attempt to resolve the dispute privately (see related story).  The mayor’s top attorney, City Solicitor Shelley Smith (in file photo above) remains optimistic:

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“We have some very strong differences, which I think are important to both sides.  But we have been talking, and I think that talking is always encouraging.”

Ralph Teti is the lead attorney for the firefighters’ union:

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“It’s always better to talk rather than fight.  But we’re certainly prepared to fight.”

The Nutter administration says a recent state labor relations board ruling mandates that paramedics are not part of the firefighters’ union.  But the union argues that paramedics perform many of the same duties and should be considered firefighters for the purpose of contract negotiations.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau Chief Mike Dunn.

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File photo