Office of Mayor William Peduto
Statement By Mayor William Peduto on Act 47 and Next Phase of Arbitration Hearings with the Fraternal Order of Police

PITTSBURGH, PA (May 7, 2015) Mayor William Peduto made the following statement today in regard to the latest arbitration hearings with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1:

“After more than a decade, Pittsburgh is finally walking a path toward financial health. It has taken the work of recovery plans, taxpayer sacrifices and deep cuts to our workforce, and overall it has required practicing fiscal discipline.

If we hold to that discipline the recovery plan the City signed last year gives us the ability to work our way, together, out of Act 47 distress. That work is unfinished and the lessons we learned from our financial implosion need to stay with us for years to come.

Our police officers are a major part of this work and this City. We appreciate the important services they provide us while knowing they must live by the Act 47 plan like every other City employee, union and non-union. The firefighters union signed a contract agreement that follows the allocations developed by the city’s Act 47 coordinators, and other unions will be required to follow the plan too. Non-union employees are already in the midst of a pay freeze it required.

Unfortunately we saw in the contract arbitration hearings last month that the Fraternal Order of Police never intended to work within the parameters of the recovery plan. They have been working on challenging it for two years.

The FOP has spent its time before the arbitration panel attacking the Act 47 plan -- and even me. The city’s financially distressed status and my support of the plan are not on trial here, and none of these baseless attacks will change that.

The only impact that these proceedings have relative to the City’s financial success is whether it assists the City in regaining its financial health, or whether it attempts to push the City back to the same place it was in 2004. It is that simple, and important.

The FOP wants to push the City back in time, when wage increases and benefit enhancements outpaced cost-of-living and the City’s ability to pay, and we had yet to confront years of pushed-off legacy costs. It would be as if all the sacrifices of the last decade were for nothing.

The City cannot tax its way to financial sustainability, sell more assets, further reduce services that are already cut to the bone, or keep ignoring investments in our infrastructure. If we did, the City we share would die.

The Act 47 plan gave us the lifeline we need to survive. By following it together we are learning the discipline to manage our growth and reverse the old practices that led us to financial ruin a decade ago. It should be embraced -- not forsaken.”

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