Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Pittsburgh City Council continues to grapple with a new ordinance to deal with the formation and ongoing population of the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board. It was brought to the attention of the council this year that the enabling legislation passed a decade and a half ago did not adequately address the process of appointing new members and the rules under which the members would serve. Councilman Doug Shields introduced a lengthy bill that outlined everything from staggered terms and residency requirements to who names the members and when. Councilman Daniel Lavelle introduced similar legislation that included far fewer lines and mostly address the process of placing new members on the board. Council members are now in the process of merging those two bills and hashing out details such as what happens when the mayor does not make his/her appointments. Shields called Lavelle’s bill “poorly written” but Councilman Patrick Dowd came to his rescue saying Shields’ bill is needlessly over specific. The bills were held for one week while the two offices try to work out the differences. All members of the CPRB are serving under expired terms. Last month the mayor sent council a list of 5 new members and 2 reappointments, but council has refused to act until new governing legislation has been put in place. The partially combined bill does not define the term “vacant” as has been suggested by Shields, but it does layout a nearly ten-step timeline of letter writing and nominations to be followed every year. Ultimately Council would send nine names to the mayor (one from each councilmember) who would chose four names and then add three more members before sending the entire list back to council final approval.