Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Council Okays Police Review Board Nominees

After a more than 2 month battle between Pittsburgh Council and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl over the the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB), the mayor won out with council confirming his 7 appointees. On June 18, the mayor re-appointed 2 members to the CPRB and named 5 new members. This action came the same day as board members were in Common Pleas Court asking a judge to force the city to turn over police records of arrests and policy planning regarding the G20 Summit. The board wanted the information to prepare for investigations into police misconduct during the summit.
The Ravenstahl Administration denied that the appointments were done in retaliation or to thwart the board's actions.
This led to debate over the mayor's nominees, the timing of the announcement and even the language in the city code regarding appointments to the board. Councilman Doug Shields says the code including procedures to replace a board member who resigned or died but did not clarify the process for appointing a replacement for a member whose term had expired. All six of the current members' terms have expired.
In the end, council passed a bill clarifying the nominating process and then approved the same 7 people the mayor had nominated earlier including 2 re-appointments: Richard Carrington and Deborah Walker; and 5 new members: Eugene Downing, Donna Kramer, Dianna O'Brien Martini, Leshonda Roberts and Deborah Whitfield.
It's uncertain if those 7 will be installed prior to the next court hearing over the police documents August 26.

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