Thursday, May 03, 2007

City Police Officer Uses "Ignorant Of Law" Card In Residency Sting

What in God’s name is going on here? Philip Dacey, 54, the former acting commander of the East Liberty police station, believes he is entitled to a $35,000 annual pension, even after quitting a job he was patently unqualified for in the first place.
You see Dacey got caught with a phony “home” city address, all the while commuting to the posh northern suburbs. Ignorance, he said on television. “Everyone else is doing it.”
What a goof-ball, dishonest answer from a police officer who has heard that same argument from criminals on the street, presumably for his entire career. Arrogance is more spot-on.
Pittsburgh requires that municipal employees reside full-time within city limits, just like the Mayor, city council, and other elected officials. The same is true for fire fighters. Somehow a few years ago the city schoolteachers union used its vast, hulking leverage and had their residency requirement waived. As a result, they pulled up stakes faster than a senior citizen will yank on the “one armed bandit” at any casino in the country.
Statistics prove that all of these professionals receive extravagant pay, especially firefighters. How else can you explain all of the expensive homes? That being said, firefighters explain that they are “the good guys” who save people from burning homes and everyone wants to be their neighbor. Cops say that neighbors always have an eye on them. Who knows about teachers, as most of them need the highway to get to their desks each morning.
Rumor had it that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who presumably lives somewhere on the North Side and not in an expansive Butler County farm as former Mayor Tom Murphy was often accused, had plans to fire 100 city workers with the unmitigated audacity to receive city tax monies in the form of paychecks, all the while digging their financial resources in far-off, sidewalk-less lands.
If Ravenstahl has any pluck whatsoever—and why should he since everyone with any influence whatsoever has paved his way to sit in the fifth-floor Grant Street West Wing for at least 10 years—he would immediately terminate anyone who sets foot across city lines five minutes after clocking out. He won’t.
Now Dacey finds himself playing the victim. Favoritism, he says, has disallowed him from a fancy new promotion. Perhaps one paying him enough to sell his squalor in one of Allegheny County’s nicest digs for a Joe Hardy-worthy castle in tax-light Washington County. That, and not being embarrassed by a residency sting operation, has forced him to turn in his badge.
Perhaps Dacey can move onto his life’s work as a small-town detective making $9 an hour. A 27-year veteran, it would be curious to see how long Dacey has been perpetrating fraud on the city payers within the city of Pittsburgh and, in essence, cashing illegal paychecks?
I’ve heard from numerous city police officers who don’t want to run into people they’ve locked up while grabbing ice cream with their family on the South Side, catching a movie off of Carson Street, or digging into a lobster on top of Mt. Washington. As if those same criminals don’t attend the latest Adam Sandler flick in groovy Pleasant Hills, grab a coffee along cosmopolitan McKnight Road, or swing by the Barnes and Noble bookseller near George Romero’s Monroeville Mall.
Dacey deserves to have his pension revoked. He’s lived deceitfully on the city dime for long enough. So have at least 99 others. We’ll see if anyone has the political might to do what’s right. In Pittsburgh, where city officials blatantly shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars to family friends for plagiarized white papers and barely register a blip on the newsmaker radar screen, I sincerely doubt it.


Jonathan Potts said...

The residency requirement for teachers was part of the state school code--it applied only to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. I don't doubt that union influence played a role in the requirement's elimination; however, it was also a fact that Philadelphia was having a tough time recruiting teachers, and the elimination of the residency requirement was intended to expand the pool of applicants.

I have mixed feelings about the residency requirement. (Though as long as it is law, it needs to be enforced.) I think it is good that city workers have a personal stake in the city's fortunes. However, you are always going to reduce the talent pool when you have such a requirement. I also wonder if the influence of the public employee unions might not go down were workers allowed to live elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to leave a follow up comment, with little success.

You make some good points; however, the Philadelphia issue is like apples and oranges. Philly most likely has a much less desirable inner-city atmosphere. You can be in the Great Outdoors from anywhere in inner-city Pittsburgh in about half an hour.

It is law and must be abided. There are a lot of people behind bars for marijuana use, although lots of people think it should be legal.

If residency requirements are dropped, I want to be Mayor of New York City or at least of my 3,000 person home town in Cambria County.

As for the unions, socialists will always have something to gripe about. That's what makes them unions/socialists. :-)