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Home  >  Topics  >  Legal

March 15, 2014
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Arbitrator won't sign residency ruling for Pa. officers

He contended that the 3-arbitrator panel exceeded its authority, violated a city ordinance and ignored the will of city residents, who voted to put a in residency requirement

By Bob Bauder
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

PITTSBURGH — An arbitrator representing the city of Pittsburgh refused to sign a decision permitting police officers to live outside city limits.

Joe Quinn wrote a dissenting opinion, contending that the three-arbitrator panel exceeded its authority, violated a city ordinance and ignored the will of city residents, who overwhelmingly voted in November to put a residency requirement into the Home Rule Charter.

"Good government should reflect the will of the majority, while respecting the lawful rights of the minority," wrote Quinn, a Downtown attorney. "Unfortunately, the majority opinion and award of this panel will accomplish neither of those goals."

Since 1902, Pittsburgh has required all employees to live in the city, Quinn said.

State legislators in 2012 enacted state law that permitted, but did not require, cities to lift residency requirements.

Pittsburgh's contract with the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1 contained a stipulation that permitted arbitration on the issue.

The other two arbitrators — Bryan Campbell, who represented the FOP, and John Skonier, a neutral arbitrator — agreed to lift the requirement.

Officers can live within 25 air miles of the City-County Building, Downtown, under the ruling, but Mayor Bill Peduto said the city could appeal.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Copyright 2014 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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