Ramsey confirms talks with Chicago mayor-elect

March 16, 2011 3:01:22 PM PDT
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey confirms to Action News that he has talked to the mayor-elect of Chicago about becoming the new top cop in the Windy City.

In an interview with Action News on Wednesday, Ramsey confirmed ongoing talks with with Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff and the newly elected mayor of Chicago, about taking command of that city's police department.

Chicago is where Ramsey began his law enforcement career more than 40 years ago.

"I wouldn't say one foot is out the door. I'm focused on what needs to be done here in Philadelphia," Ramsey said.

Word of Emanuel's interest in Ramsey surfaced last week.

"It is weighing heavily on my heart. I like Philadelphia. It would be different if I didn't like it, if I had issues in the department, but I don't. This is a very, very good department and we've made good progress," Ramsey said.

Ramsey's salary in Philadelphia is $195,000 per year. The recently ousted police superintendent in Chicago was paid $310,000 per year. If Ramsey returned to Chicago's payroll, he would have to stop collecting the $95,000 annual pension he now gets from that city.

More talks with Emanuel are in the offing.

"It's not easy. My family is settled here, I've got a house, my son works here in the city, my wife works here in the city," Ramsey said. "So, it's not easy."

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said he wants Ramsey to stay, but is measuring his words carefully.

"No decision has been made, no offer has been made. He is staying in very close contact but, of course, we want Commissioner Ramsey to be here in Philadelphia," said Nutter.

"It's a personal decision that he has weighing on his heart. He loves the city, he loves what he does, and I'm not going to take it any further than that."

If Ramsey were to leave Philadelphia his second-in-command, Richard Ross, is widely viewed as the clear front-runner to succeed him.

Emanuel will be sworn-in in mid-May, and he would like to have a new police chief ready to hit the ground by then.