Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields says it's not a political battle between Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl "it's an obligation of council to amend the city code and offer a clear, consistent way to have appointees come before council and to replace members as they cycle off the board."
Shields is referring to the dispute between council and the mayor over the 7 nominations Ravenstahl made to the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) on June 18--the same day the administration was in court fighting efforts by the board to get access to police records regarding the G20 Summit. The mayor has denied allegations he was trying to thwart the board but said the 60 day timetable for acting on suggested nominations by council was nearing an end.
Ravenstahl nominated 5 new members and re-appointed 2 current ones. But Shields is asking council to table those nominations because the process of appointing members "is as clear as mud." Shields wants council to clarify the language in the city code before they act on any nominations to the CPRB. Shields says the code specified how the original board was to be constructed and the process to fill a vacancy when a member resigns, but he says there is no specific language on how to appoint successors to members whose terms expire. Currently, they remain until they are replaced, even a year or two later.
Shields says the problem is the mayor treated the appointments as if there were 7 vacancies and there was officially only one.
Shields says he doesn't want the CPRB's integrity challenged "so it can do its work and not worry about if a member was legitimately appointed or not."
Shields plans to introduce his bill Tuesday to clear up the nominating process. He says if council passes it, the mayor would be free to nominate the same 7 people as he did June 18.