Some Phila. police may move from city

    The arbitration settlement reached with Philadelphia police includes one key clause that has nothing to do with pay or benefits. It ends the residency requirement for some police officers.

    The arbitration settlement reached with Philadelphia police includes one key clause that has nothing to do with pay or benefits. It ends the residency requirement for some police officers.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091221tmpolice.mp3]

    Any officer who is eligible for retirement will be permitted to move out of the city as of next July.

    That worries City Controller Alan Butkovitz, who fears a mass exodus of police moving out to suburban addresses.

    Butkovitz: Right now, there is a group of about 6,500 people who don’t have the ability to walk across the city line to buy a house, so they have to pay a premium to buy. We’re going to have to work harder to make them want to stay in Philadelphia and I think the city should be considering specific incentive programs to make them want to stay.

    But City Councilman Frank Rizzo doubts predictions of a big blue line flowing out to the suburbs.

    He says he believes most officers will remain in the city, especially since many already live very close to the city’s boundaries with the suburbs.

    Rizzo: I don’t think any police will move 2,000 yards from Philadelphia County to Montgomery County. I still believe that most city employees have Philadelphia in their blood and I think that many of them will stay here because they work here. It’s just a trend.

    The residency portion of the arbitration ruling cannot be appealed. Mayor Michael Nutter says he’s disappointed with the decision.

    City officials differ on what impact this might have.

    Any officer who is eligible for retirement may move out of town beginning in July 2010. Alan Butkovitz is Philadelphia City Controller. He’s worried about a mass police exodus that would hurt city property values.

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