Updated: Peduto announces appeal of arbitrator's decision to waive police residency requirement

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Mayor Bill Peduto says the city has appealed an arbitrator's ruling that allows Pittsburgh Police officers to live outside of the city. The appeal puts a hold on the arbitrator's decision that would allow officers to live within 25 miles of the City-County Building.

"For more than a century, city workers have been required to live where they work, and state law and the arbitration process should not treat any one set of employees differently," Peduto said in a written statement. "Our workers make up the core of the city’s tax base and thus have a vested interest in making our neighborhoods, schools and government the best they can be.

"Furthermore, while state law was amended in 2012 to address Pittsburgh Police residency it left the residency requirement a matter for me and other city officials — not third-party arbitrators — to decide."

During last year's election Peduto said he planned on making police residency a negotiable part of the city's next collective bargaining agreement with the FOP. The arbitrator's ruling, Peduto says, takes that power away from the city.

"Such rules also risk standing in the way of my ability to remake the Police Bureau from inside and out," Peduto said. "I want to work with police on building a better bureau.

"I’ve long said I would make residency part of contract negotiations with the police union in exchange for changes to management and disciplinary improvements that both residents and officers can be proud of. Changes are also necessary to increase diversity within the bureau to make it better reflect the makeup of Pittsburgh’s residents.
I remain ready to talk, fairly and openly, and reach a compromise that benefits all of us.”

The mayor's full release appears after the jump.

UPDATED: The complete appeal document can be found here.

STATEMENT BY MAYOR WILLIAM PEDUTO ON APPEAL OF RESIDENCY AWARD


PITTSBURGH, PA - Mayor William Peduto today appealed an arbitrator’s decision that Pittsburgh Police officers be allowed to live outside the city limits.

The city Law Department appeal filed with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas puts a hold on the arbitration award issued last week, which said police could live within 25 miles of the City-County Building.
Below is a statement from the Mayor:

“With so much excitement about our city from residents, the nation and the world, I can't imagine why police would want to leave it. I am eager to sit at the bargaining table and negotiate in a fair and open process.

More than 80 percent of residents voted in favor of a residency referendum in November, and I agree that all city workers should be Pittsburgh residents and taxpayers. For more than a century, city workers have been required to live where they work, and state law and the arbitration process should not treat any one set of employees differently. Our workers make up the core of the city’s tax base and thus have a vested interest in making our neighborhoods, schools and government the best they can be.

Furthermore, while state law was amended in 2012 to address Pittsburgh Police residency it left the residency requirement a matter for me and other city officials — not third-party arbitrators — to decide.

The arbitrator’s interpretation is yet another example of the state’s unbalanced collective bargaining rules regarding police and fire unions. Instead of tying the hands of city leaders statewide, legislators should instead be opening arbitration processes up to the public and making the selection of the arbitrators fairer. As of now the decisions — which greatly impact the budgets and culture of our city — are being made by unelected arbitrators behind closed doors.

Such rules also risk standing in the way of my ability to remake the Police Bureau from inside and out. I want to work with police on building a better bureau. I’ve long said I would make residency part of contract negotiations with the police union in exchange for changes to management and disciplinary improvements that both residents and officers can be proud of. Changes are also necessary to increase diversity within the bureau to make it better reflect the makeup of Pittsburgh’s residents.

I remain ready to talk, fairly and openly, and reach a compromise that benefits all of us.”

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