Judge allows Belton firefighters to be paid for charity work - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Judge allows Belton firefighters to be paid for charity work

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BELTON, MO (KCTV) -

Firefighters in Belton went to court Monday morning in a battle over their annual campaign that raises money for children with muscular dystrophy.

The city's attorney ruled that the Fill the Boot campaign was illegal if the firefighters collect donations while on the clock. The attorney said it violated the Missouri Constitution.

The fire union went to court challenging this.

A Cass County judge issued a temporary restraining order to the firefighters last Thursday.

During Monday's hearing, the judge left the injunction in place, forcing the city to pay the firefighters for their charity work.

Firefighters can collect donations on Friday and Saturday. But, off-duty firefighters or volunteers will have to collect the money on Sunday and Monday.

Another hearing is expected to take place later this week.

Belton Mayor Jeff Davis said earlier this month that city leaders support the Muscular Dystrophy Association, but charitable efforts should be truly charitable.

For the past two decades, firefighters have participated in Fill the Boot, where motorists and others are asked to make donations to the MDA. Firefighters do this while they are working,  thus they get paid for their charity work.

Capt. Steve Kratofil led the charge by the firefighters union.

"If it's not broke, don't fix it. We've never had a problem," he said. "In our city, we choose to have higher standards, and to push our services to our citizens. And that is what they expect of us."

He had said some firefighters might not participate in future years if they didn't get paid for their efforts.

Belton Mayor Jeff Davis said this is about preferential treatment.

"We want what's best for our constituents, and they don't think our taxpayers should be paying," he said. "We have six Boot blocks in Belton. This is the only one that gets paid by city employees. Nobody else gets paid to do these charities."

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