PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Bill Peduto has been mayor of the city now for four months, but he still hasn’t named a new chief for his embattled police bureau, which is in dire need of new leadership.
Former Chief Nate Harper is in jail on his tax evasion and conspiracy conviction. Interim Chief Regina McDonald doesn’t want the job. But Mayor Peduto has something else to do before picking a new one.
“We won’t hire the police chief until we have a public safety director,” he said.
Peduto wants his public safety director to help select a new chief. Problem is, his candidates keep turning him down.
In November, he offered the job to the former FBI head Michael Rodriguez, who declined for personal reasons. Then he offered it to another candidate in February who didn’t want to live in the city and rejected the salary offer of $106,000.
“We’re now on our third round of interviews for public safety director,” Peduto said.
As an enticement, Peduto has raised the salary to $125,000 a year. He says current Safety Director Mike Huss is still in the running and he will interview three new candidates next week with the hope of naming a safety director in the next few weeks.
Then, and only then, will the search for a police chief begin. And despite complaints from the rank and file who say the bureau needs new leadership now, Peduto says he won’t be rushed in finding the right match.
“I’d rather be taking too much time than jumping into this too hastily,” he said.
And so it appears we will be well into summer before a new chief is named to a bureau that is trying to emerge out of scandal and is in dire need of new leadership.