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.”