KDKA Investigation: The Cost Of Protecting The Mayor

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The City Controller is calling for scrutiny of the cost of protecting the mayor of Pittsburgh.

This comes after a KDKA Investigation discovered members of the mayor’s security detail are on pace to earn $200,000 in overtime for the past two years.

A high-ranking Pittsburgh police officer who has worked under four different mayors provided KDKA-TV with documents pointing out what he calls “abusive overtime” earned by the mayor’s security detail.

He says he’s never seen anything like it.

“It’s everything we’re about – integrity, respect, accountability – it’s written across the badge. C’mon, it’s ridiculous.”

The records are revealing. Last year, the three guards earned more than $111,000 in overtime. Officer Fred Crawford earned more than $42,000 – the highest in the department.

This year, through the end of September, records show the three officers have earned more than $61,000 in overtime with Sgt. Dom Sciulli making more than $23,000 – third in the whole department with three months of overtime yet to be revealed.

“When you see those kind of numbers, they do jump out at you,” City Controller Michael Lamb said. “I mean those are some big numbers.”

Lamb has some questions for the mayor.

“How do you have this level of overtime when you have officers working shifts? You pretty much have round-the-clock coverage,” Lamb said. “So, what’s the need for overtime?”

KDKA’s Marty Griffin wanted to ask the mayor that too, but he wouldn’t do an on-camera interview saying, “This is not a story.”

“I in no way use my security detail for my personal gain,” Ravenstahl said.

He did release documents suggesting overtime hours for the mayor’s detail are down about 20 percent from last year. Still, in light of the mayor’s recent threat to layoff police in next year’s budget, the police department insider calls the overtime absurd.

“He says he’s gonna lay off people – how can you lay off people when you have four people watching him and you use all of your overtime up?

“You[‘re] gonna cut overtime next year, use your own office, do the right thing.”

The mayor has stated there would only be police layoffs as a last resort in a budget crisis, indicating every department would have to be cut, including his own.

Meantime, the mayor calls the accusations about his security guards “political.”


One Comment

  1. expittsburgh says:

    An inexperienced democratic mayor potentially abusing the system? It just doesn’t make sense…. The smartest Ravenstahl is the one that divorced this pos.

  2. Jeff Becker says:

    The only security the Mayor needs is to protect himself from himself. Why do politicians feel the need to have armed gaurds? Senator Heinz would show up to meetings and events driving his own Buick and alone!

    1. BOB says:


  3. Bill says:

    why is it “not a story” little luke? Cause you say so? sounds like a taxpayer rip-off story to me. this is exactly whats wrong with the dems…they’ll do something fishy till they get caught, then say “this is not a story”

  4. Steve says:

    To the comments above – in the broadcast story, they pointed out that in three terms, 12 years, Tom Murphy didn’t use as much guard overtime as Luke has in 2 years. And Murphy was indeed a Democrat. Same with O’Connor, he didn’t use the bodyguards this way, just one, little overtime. So don’t hang this mayor’s behavior on the whole political party. I think this mayor has an overblown self-image, & his governing is based on a really skewed personality. Why he was elected escapes me. But, it is who he is, not what party he is, that seems to be the downfall.

  5. bruceUSA says:

    Won’t somebody demand that these monies be payed back and that disciplinary action be taken?? But NOoooo… Let’s just smooth it over and let the “boy mayor” keep spending like a good democrat should!!!

  6. Mary Ellen says:

    I don’t think the officers need to be repremended. Only the mayor is the person who needs to be dealt with. The mayor needs to give an account of his where abouts for the reason why we city folks need to pay out so much money in security detail. Enough is enough. Maybe, he should spend more time with his wife and kid instead of running the street doing NOTHING!

  7. Karla says:

    Yet again we see Ravenstahl demonstrate his utter contempt for the taxpayer and his willingness to act with utter impunity. I concur that this has little to do with party, although Democratic leaders should seriously consider whether their silence speaks louder than words. This administration is remarkable for its lack of transparency, accountability, and professionalism. I seriously hope a viable mayoral challenger can be identified for the next election. Pittsburgh would benefit from a true professional who can continue to move this city forward and not remain in a corrupt and nepotistic past.

  8. Henry says:

    Well Squeeky and don, my guess is this person is not a high ranking police official as Marty the sensationalist claims. I believe he is a ranking FOP official. The FOP represents the police as their union. He is not hiding his face in fear of retaliation from the Administration, he is hiding his face because he just threw 3 of his brother officers under the bus. Why is he doing this? Because the FOP is upset that they are not being paid double time and a half for working the Winter Classic on Jan 1, 2011. Shame on you Dan Ohara, nice hat.

  9. johnny cash says:

    Not much of a story. Council could easily solve this by clearly defining in what situations the mayor should be protected. If the times are “everywhere outside his house and the mayor’s office” then it’s not his fault. We can’t expect him to be a hermit to save the taxpayer money. We can however elect a mayor who makes himself less of a target for crazy city workers and south side bar girls alike.

  10. Rick Earl says:

    My insiders tell me that was Marty Griffin’s dad wearing the baseball hat and talking like he sucked in helium, he’s been know to use fake sources in the past. That’s why he got thrown out of Texas

  11. duane says:

    not only does he have police follow him, i know a girl {local hoar} who was chummie w/luke, she was followed by female who said she is paid by mayors office to keep luke pe pe in his pants, also we all know luke likes to tip the bottle and act like a rockstar not a mayor grow up dude ,your hangin out in s bar in southside, do you know a convicted cocaine dealer who is a federal informant owns that dive, grow up luke, your the mayor of pittsburgh not homecoming king , you wouldnt need security detail if you were doing yor job, oh ya where the hell were you on light up night when yor city let teenagers run through town like wils wild west

  12. Chad says:

    @johnny cash – they are making $200k in OVERTIME. Do you realize that the officers make more for overtime than they do for their regular time? It is his fault no matter when he is “authorized” to have security… hire someone else that will get paid at their normal rate, instead of paying these three overtime in excess of $200k a year.

  13. alison says:

    “why is it “not a story” little luke? Cause you say so? sounds like a taxpayer rip-off story to me. this is exactly whats wrong with the dems…they’ll do something fishy till they get caught, then say “this is not a story””

    this has nothing to do with being a democrat or a republican. both ends of the spectrum do shady things until they get caught. you have to be blind if you don’t see that. republicans aren’t anything close to angelic.

    i’m a democrat and think most of what ravenstahl has done during his time in office is reprehensible. this situation included. get him out.

  14. Big Farce says:

    C’mon people. This dude just made a speech on our behalf IN CHINA. Don’t you know that that makes him uber-important? And, maybe he needs to protect himself from his ex-wife. We just don’t know enough details yet…..

  15. Ed says:

    The thing is, is this story the tip of an iceberg? Does an officer or officers sit in a car outside the Mayor’s current residence all night, guarding him while he sleeps? Or is the Mayor going somewhere until the wee hours of the night, and needs a couple of officers to extract and perhaps carry him at closing time?

    Murphy trained for marathons and then took up mountain biking when he blew his knee out. Plus Murphy was pretty well disliked, especially towards the end of tenure in office. He must have been a nightmare to protect, assuming he allowed himself to be protected (while training or in general). Yet apparently Murphy was unable to find activities that would cause his officers to hit Ravenstahl levels of overtime.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Listen Live