Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey is staying.
Ramsey, who has overseen a reduction in violent crime while aggressively rooting out corruption in the department, will not leave to become Chicago's top cop, Ramsey and Mayor Nutter announced Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s a dream job, and one I thought abou,t and came close to getting in 1998,” Ramsey said of the Chicago position. He also said he had “never had a decision more difficult.”
But in the end, it was to be Philadelphia.
He credited conversations with the mayor and “experiences I’ve had in the last three years.… This is still not a city any of us envision it to be in five years, in 10 years... and I want to be a part of that.”
Nutter helped entice Ramsey to stay with a $60,000 raise -- Ramsey will now make $255,000, up from $195,000, and be the city's highest-paid employee.
The single most popular of Mayor Nutter's original cabinet members, Ramsey has decided not to return to his home town, where he first entered the police academy at age 18, to work for new Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Ramsey has openly acknowledged he would consider an offer from Chicago.
“The best news today in Philadelphia turns out to be non-news: Charles Ramsey is still police commissioner, and that is a great outcome for Philadelphians who have been the beneficiaries of steady, visionary and honest leadership at the very top of the city’s law enforcement," said U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, (D., Phila), in an emailed statement. "Congratulations Commissioner for making the right choice. And hats off to Mayor Nutter for persuading Commissioner Ramsey to stay right here."
District Attorney Seth Williams send out a celebratory email, also.
“I think Philadelphia shares in my happiness today,” Williams wrote. “Commissioner Ramsey has been not just a great Police Commissioner for the city; he’s become a great Philadelphian and a great partner in crime fighting.”
The Chicago Sun-Times was reporting Wednesday afternoon that Ramsey's asking price had been too steep for Emanuel. Quoting a source, the paper's website reported that Ramsey sought a compensation package of more than $400,000. Ramsey currently receives a $95,000 annual pension from the City of Chicago that he would have to forego if he returned to work there.
Ramsey is generally regarded as Nutter's most successful appointment since he took office in 2008, and it comes as no surprise that he is in demand elsewhere.
"Nutter pulls off a great coup by keeping him," said public relations consultant and long-time politico William R. Miller IV, who rated the announcement "above a Cliff Lee."
Crime was the number one issue when Nutter took office, and Ramsey has successfully tackled it, while also reforming the department, Miller said.
"Nutter has empowered Ramsey more than anyone in the administration, and allowed him to do his job," Miller said. "He's brought a great deal of strength and respect to the department."
John Dougherty, a South Philly ward leader and business manager for the Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who has sparred with Nutter for much of Nutter's career, called Ramsey "not only the best appointment, but the most effective."
"There's two things people want to do in Philadelphia -- they want to go to work and they want to feel safe," Dougherty said. "There's a reason he's in demand across the country."
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