City Councilman Ricky Burgess had a referendum put on the ballot asking city residents whether city police should live within city limits or not. Overwhelmingly the voters made it clear they wanted our city police to live in the city.
The Fraternal Order of Police was not happy with that, so instead of respecting the very people whom they swear to serve and protect, and those who pay taxes to support their salaries and benefits, the FOP took steps to overrule the democratic process this country is based on. The arbitrators, in a 2-1 decision, overruled the public and disrespected our rights.
The FOP needs to be honest with its membership, and the police need to understand that this decision will only result in layoffs, loss of benefits and much more. The tax base will shrink even more and therefore there will be fewer funds to support them. They are only causing their own demise, so they must hold themselves accountable for what the future will bring.
I know Mayor Bill Peduto believes in the democratic process, and I encourage him to use the power of his office to support the public’s opinion. The public spoke loud and clear through a referendum vote that should not be ignored. Our city’s residents should be outraged with the FOP, the arbitrators and anyone else who doesn’t support the democratic process.
Don’t allow a few to go against what the majority of the public has determined to be the best course for our city. Wake up, Pittsburgh!
The writer served on the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education for 12 years and was chair of negotiations.