Before former Mayor Ravenstahl left office –
He asked the state to release Pittsburgh from Act 47 financial oversight.
As soon as he took office –
Mayor Bill Peduto rescinded the request.
He admits Pittsburgh has made great strides in ten years –
But he thinks the city needs a 5-year “exit plan” –
To tackle issues like debt and pension liability.
Governor Tom Corbett agreed to the extension.
It’s a prudent decision – and will probably best serve the city in the long run.
But it’s bad news for Pittsburgh’s public safety employees.
They are currently in contract talks – and with the city still under Act 47 –
They can’t expect much – if anything – in the way of raises.
That’s a real problem –
Because Pittsburgh is struggling with an under-manned police force.
It’s hard to attract – and keep – officers when suburban departments pay better.
Another issue has been residency.
An arbitrator just decided that Pittsburgh police officers DON’T need to live in the city.
Mayor Peduto has indicated that his administration would appeal.
He should back off and concede the residency issue.
It’s not a pay raise.
But it’s a serious carrot that could help Pittsburgh attract – and keep – police officers.
And that has to be a big part of any plan for the city’s future.