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City Council Debates, Takes No Action On Issue Of Officers' Side Jobs

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Pittsburgh City Council decided to put off any major decisions about police side jobs, but still engaged in plenty of debate Wednesday.

"What we're trying to do is make a right out of a wrong. That is all this council is trying to do, and when we put it into law, then we'll be able to answer some questions," said Council President Darlene Harris.

The questions council had about the bill on the table today was how to change city practice about the issue that caused the FBI to seize city police records in February on police moonlighting for private companies, how the money is accounted for, and a secret police credit union account.

Harris offered an amendment to increase the fees the city would get from such side jobs, but even that caused debate.

"I actually think the solution is not to increase the fee. The solution is to say, 'Wait a minute. Where should we be providing secondary detail if at all. If at all,'" said Councilman Patrick Dowd.

As the debate went on, Public Safety Committee Chair Theresa Kail-Smith offered a warning

"I do think that we are becoming dangerously close to thinking that we run the police department, we know what's best for the department; and I don't think that we do," she said.

In the end, even the amendment to the broader bills failed. The vote was three yes, no's one, and two abstentions.

"The amendment will be brought up again," said Harris. "I don't think most of council understood when they abstained that you have to have five votes for an amendment."

Decisions on all of the proposed reform bills were delayed but more meetings on the reforms will continue next week.

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More Reports on Pittsburgh City Council

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