*-UPDATE: Council confirms Sanchez-Ridge 8-0-1, and the Trib apparently owns the image to the right by Stephanie Strasburg.
On the latest Castle Greyskull brouhaha…
Pittsburgh City Councilman Ricky Burgess is asking Mayor Bill Peduto to withdraw his nomination for solicitor, raising questions about whether the nominee, Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge, satisfies the city's requirement that employees live within its limits. (P-G, Moriah Balingit)
If Council wants to go through the process of getting outside legal counsel, it should always be welcome. Pittsburgh City Council is often surprised by what its consultants and experts have to tell it.
The administration appears to feel it is on solid footing regarding residency, and that they will remain on such footing. She is the Mayor's nominee before Council and acting Solicitor designee, and she is Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge.
The Comet is a big fan of the Patrick Dowd method of solving problems. That is, an entity with standing to complain about something does so in the proper arena to figure it out.
Now, let me address my bias…
transition teams, I actually got to work with Lourdes. We bonded (I felt). I feel this way because we did not just grin and backslap, "Hooray, Peduto!" but we actually fought for a while. Dramatically, thrillingly. For at least :30 minutes in a 2 hour meeting, and by "we" I mean we including all you-know-who-you-weres on the subcommittee. Summarily on at least one and a half topics or occasions she and we duked it out cordially before we all heard and understood each other and saw agreement.
And then we forged more productive agreements. Afterwords we were satisfied with the net outcome, mutually enthusiastic and puckishly merry. And so that was substantive bonding, at least on my end. The Comet can harbor no qualms about professionalism, conviction and insight, or an ability to flex in a manner appropriate to a public Solicitor.
Back to the analysis...
The Murmursphere is already offering elaborate though reasonable suggestions on how we ought to determine the real truth of legal residency. Ordinarily fact-gathering would fall under the realm of Office of Municipal Investigations or OMI. It seems reasonable to assert that at the appropriate point in time (and there is a sidebar disagreement about when meaningful enforcement upon brand new employees actually goes into effect) that OMI might need to secure outside investigatory services in what ought to be a routine fashion in all credible instances of perceived conflict with OMI itself.
Underlying some of the reaction to issues of residency (beneath the practicalities of policing it) is a sentiment concerning whether or not City employees at all times and from the root and stem ought to have been longtime, dedicated City of Pittsburghererers, and the nearer suburbs be buggered. This longtime section of the City Code was elevated further by voters to the Charter in a recent ballot measure, powered largely on the subject of police officers.
Regardless of the law's wisdom or genesis, it must be enforced in due process. To argue merely that municipal labor arbitration panels might not look kindly upon it, is to ignore that we already accuse those panels of tremendous bias against the City.
It would be process-oriented of City Council to judge the ability, quality and capacity of the nominee, with expressed reservations and advisories pertaining to Compliance. Eventually all attorneys must duel in terms of "burdens of proof". The political arena has with grave regularity been a poor place to prosecute such questions.
As clear, law-based and consistent administrative policies are enforced, again, Council should if it feels compelled seek outside opinion and at last flex its attorney muscle. And justice under law shall reign.