By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A City Council committee today spent the morning wrangling with how City Hall can use its leverage to get more jobs for local residents.

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City employees must live in Philadelphia, but there’s currently no such requirement for those who are hired by private firms receiving contracts from the local government.

Before the City Council finance committee today was a proposal from Councilman Bill Green to change that.

“This makes the requirement that 50 percent of the man-hours on outside contracts — nonprofessional services contracts — be performed by Philadelphia residents,” Green explained.

Green’s proposal has the support of the Nutter administration, but it ran into some hurdles over implementation, including possible waivers for employers.

So, the councilman decided to delay a vote, scheduling another hearing on the idea next Monday.

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At the hearing, councilman Wilson Goode pressed an administration official — Brian Abernathy, chief of staff to the managing director — on why the hiring level in the bill was set at 50 percent.  Abernathy admitted that the city doesn’t even know how close current contractors are coming to that level.

(Abernathy:)  “It is unclear, and we have begun to gather some of that information, Councilman.  We do not have a current –“

(Goode:)  “So it is an arbitrary goal.”

(Abernathy:)  “It’s a goal that we thought was defensible.”

But Goode noted that if the current level is in fact higher, the legislation would end up mandating a goal below what has been achieved.

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“Understood,” replied Abernathy.