Mayor William Peduto released the following statement today in advance of legal arguments before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on whether Pittsburgh Police officers have to live in the City
PITTSBURGH, PA– “For more than a century lawmakers, and the public, have reaffirmed a basic requirement for being a City of Pittsburgh employee – that they all have to be residents of the great city where they work.
That requirement was among the first laws the newly empowered city approved in 1902. It was re-enacted in 1979 after the adoption of Pittsburgh’s Home Rule Charter and, in 1990, the General Assembly confirmed the residency requirement for police officers. Perhaps most importantly, 80% of Pittsburgh residents overwhelmingly reaffirmed the residency requirement in a referendum in 2013.
The residency requirement ensures that all employees — from refuse workers to park rangers to road engineers — are vested directly in the health of the city, and have a stake in its future. But in America today it is especially important that police are a part of the fabric of the community. Pittsburgh has been blessed to strengthen its ties between our neighborhoods and police force, but those ties remain fragile, and we must do all we can to preserve them.
I have great respect for the collective bargaining process, and the life-saving work police officers do, but it is imperative that city residents have their voice at the bargaining table. Unilaterally removing the residency requirement for this unique class of employees would be a step back, and counter to the overwhelming wishes of fellow residents who want to keep police officers not only as their neighbors, but their fellow coaches, congregants in places of worship, and parents at school. In short, they want to keep them as Pittsburghers.”