PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Council, which controls the purse strings of the city’s government, apparently has no problem with the $60,000 salary hike given to police commissioner Charles Ramsey to keep him from fleeing to Chicago.

Mayor Nutter is giving Ramsey a salary boost from $195,000 a year to $255,000 (see related story).

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After two years of tight Philadelphia budgets in which non-unionized workers faced furlough days, Mayor Nutter defends the decision as commensurate with other major city police chiefs.  Councilmembers seem to agree.

“If it means that we are going to be safer in the city, money is not an issue,” said Council president Anna Verna this morning.

“Police commissioner is one of the more important jobs in the city besides the mayor.  And he’s a fabulous person and a great commissioner and he’s worth every penny,” said councilman-at-large Jim Kenney.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell agrees:

“He’s a good commissioner, and as they say, a man is worthy of his hire.   So I have no problem with it.”

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“I believe that the Philadelphia salary, even with the increase, does not match the salary that he could have made in Chicago,” said at-large councilman Frank Rizzo Jr., “so I’m please that Commissioner Ramsey is staying.”

The Republican leader on Council, 10th District councilman Brian O’Neill, also is fine with the pay hike.

“Commissioner Ramsey is somebody special,” O’Neill told KYW Newsradio this morning.  “He’s as valuable to this police department as Cliff Lee is to the Phillies.”

Had he gone to Chicago, Ramsey would have likely earned more than $300,000 a year.  Ramsey will testify  before Council on his department’s budget next Monday.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau Chief Mike Dunn.

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