Ravenstahl Defers Decision on Next Police Chief to His Successor

Mar 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said Monday he won't nominate a new, full-time police chief before he leaves his post at year's end, instead leaving that decision to his mayoral successor.

It appears acting chief Regina McDonald, who assumed command after former chief Nathan Harper's forced resignation last month, will continue on an interim basis at least until the first months of 2014.

Mayor Ravenstahl said he won't decide on a new permanent police chief because the process would need to be "extremely rushed" to fit in the ten months remaining to his term.

"I'm very much aware of the interest in the public to have input; I share that interest. For us to try to achieve that by the end of the year, while we may be able to do it, it wouldn't be fair, in my mind, to the next mayor," said Ravenstahl, who bowed out of the mayoral race in early March.

Chief Harper resigned February 20 after the FBI shared with Ravenstahl some of the findings of its investigation into the police chief. News had broken days before that Harper's office was at the center of a slush fund scandal, in which city revenue was diverted to a secret credit union account for the personal use of a small group of officers.

The next mayor of Pittsburgh, who takes office in January, will have the power to nominate a candidate for police chief, and a majority of Pittsburgh City Council must vote to confirm the nominee.

Mayoral candidate and current City Councilman Bill Peduto has said that it would be hard to find a qualified candidate to take the post, knowing that the administration was going to change in a matter of months.