Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Quick Reminder

I am still working on my post concerning the City of Pittsburgh's now-defunct system to recover its costs when police officers perform off-duty work for private employers. I have received a wealth of information from concerned readers, both in the comments to my original post and privately via email.

The story is clearly an interesting one, and it highlights what appears to be Interim Mayor Luke "Handcuffs" Ravenstahl's intended strategy of winning his May primary race against City Councilmember Bill Peduto. Simply stated, Master Ravenstahl appears to be lining up votes by caving in to even the slightest amount of pressure from the unions which represent city employees. As discussions appearing in both the Burgh Report and the Pittsburgh Comet demonstrate, such maneuvering is already well underway with the city firefighter's union. A similar kind of story also seems to be resting underneath the surface of the police department's off-duty cost recovery plan. There is quite a bit to write about here.

If anyone has any additional information that they want to share before I write and post my own views on this subject, please feel free to discuss things within the comments to either this post or the earlier one. And as always, if you would prefer not to post your information publicly, you can always send it to me privately in an email to turner.richmond@gmail.com.

Thanks for your help.

16 comments:

PittsburghJack said...

Richmond-
Have you checked out the new blog - Grant's Street Report on Pittsburgh Police Crimes? That would be worth reading if you haven't yet done so. You may also want to ship off an email to it's administrator. He seems to be knowledgeable in this area and would prove helpful.

http://grantsstreetreport.blogspot.com/

Richmond K. Turner said...

Thanks for the link, Jack. I've left a comment there. Maybe he'll stop by here.

Smitty said...

jack & admiral..thanks for the headsup

Anonymous said...

Supposedly, Luke suspended the cost recovery program because even though prior mayors had already done so, he personally failed to obtain sufficient input from the business community. (Another reason you don't send a boy to do a man/woman's job) Businesses already pay cops to schedule their security work - the only change that would really result from this is that the taxpayers get the money instead of a greedy cop. For example, Sgt. Fisher not only schedules off-duty officers, he WORKS the details, so he gets his $40/hr. + a 5 or 10% scheduling fee. Let's do the math again: 80 games x $40/hr. x 5 hrs. = $16,000 for working the games + $9 - 18,000 for scheduling - And what do the taxpayers get for this? Zip, zero, nothing, nada - oh yeah, the taxpayers get to pay the judgment when a Pirates fan sues the cop ! Thanks Lukey! Boy, the City must be rolling in dough to just throw away that kind of cash!

Smitty said...

Anon..on top of that,i hear there is a cash cow getting milked over on the 5th floor 414 grant st.It's raining settlements...Get yourself a piece of Luke's pie.

Richmond K. Turner said...

I do hope that you are referring to a settlement in the McNeilly matter.

Anonymous said...

What do you think Admiral - we have a bet going over at the BurghReport - I say anything over $25,000 reeks of cover-up. While she's entitled to something, Cathy didn't lose a day's pay and she's been adjudicated a hero in the court of public opinion. I think that anything over $25,000 shows desperation to stop this train in its tracks. Smitty agrees, but thinks the settlement will be in the $75-100,000 range - Regardless of the reasons for settling, and we all agree a settlement is necessary, the amount will be telling. Regardless of the amount, it will be higher than it would have had the city had the good sense to settle the case up front (less attorneys fees).

Smitty said...

and wait until the attorney fees get figured into the settlement..

The Burgher said...

Don't these judgments come before council for a vote?

That would be fun. especially pre-election.

If Luke wants to avoid taking the oath he will likely pay a lot.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of lawsuits, one of the policemen who schedules off-duty work, Novak, had the nerve to sue the city claiming that the city was infringing on his exclusive right to schedule details (even though he and the policemen he hired were wearing the city's uniform and equipment). He lost. I guess the city wasted money fighting that lawsuit though if Luke is just going to give it away.

Smitty said...

yes the judgments do go before council for approval..will luke's yes men just pass the cost of his deal making on to the taxpayers???

Richmond K. Turner said...

Anonymous (1:27 PM); I've heard that there was a lawsuit like the one you describe, but can't find any details on it. Do you have any links which relate to it?

Anonymous said...

This article discusses Chief McNeilly's plan to implement the cost recovery program and references Officer Novak's lawsuit. I'll see if I can have someone go into the federal docket database to see if they can find the court order dismissing the suit.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - here's the link:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05344/620366.stm

Anonymous said...

When the FOP tells you the city only stands to make $100,000, they're lying.

If Fisher charged 10% on his interior Pirates detail alone, he would make almost $20,000/year. Add the exterior detail, Steelers, Pitt Football, Penguins, Basketball, Concerts, truck pulls, ice skating events, cultural events, weddings, bars, construction projects, Giant Eagle, restaurants, hospitals...

The guys who schedule these things wouldn't be screaming bloody murder if they were only making a couple thousand bucks.

smittyfromtheflats said...

FOP President Malloy's own numbers state 300,000 for the city..and Malloy was OK with kicking it....