*-CLARIFICATION: The office of the Rev. emphasizes that its argument in the letter applies to all distressed Home Rule Charter governments, of which we are one. This is what we attempted to communicate in reporting, "and even then it's tricky".
CONTINUING: I'm not so sure the case is airtight -- you go decide. I know City Solicitor George Specter declined to spell out anything like it upon repeated questioning during Wednesday's Council session. However, Specter did offer a warning that the matter could bring about litigation.
Burgess also included a note in return correspondence for the legal counsel of Joe King, President of the firefighters union:
I am sure you are well aware of the financial impact to the City if this Plan fails to be adopted, by Ordinance, by June 30, 2009. This would likely be fortuitous to your client, but it would undoubtedly lead to far greater cuts across the scope of City services, and employees not protected by Act 111 in addition to years of protracted litigation. This would create financial hardships that would not be experienced by police and fire employees.Instead, the pain would be borne by the City’s non-fire and non-police employees, its residents and taxpayers. (Burgess)
That is extremely informative stuff -- extremely -- but it has little to do with the legal argument surrounding the Council's authority, and the Municipality's legal ability to pursue a full range of options.
**-UPDATE/RESOURCE: Here, for now, is State Act 47. Sections 244 through 249 are immediately relevant, though definitions, categories and legislative intent may exist elsewhere throughout the document.