Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Police Promotions Fallout

Mayor & Women's Commission Chair Q&A With Reporters

Mayor Ravenstahl and Cynthia McCormick, the chair of the Women's Commission, fielded reporter questions after meeting for more than an hour about the controversial police promotions. You can catch the raw video of the question-and-answer session online at The Pittsburgh Channel.

Meanwhile, credit to Maria of 2 Political Junkies for being the first to publish Police Commander Catherine McNeilly's letter touching on this story.

The commander e-mailed a letter to the editor in response to the Post-Gazette's mayoral report card story. That letter also addresses the promotions controversy.

Channel 4 Action News reporter Gus Rosendale quoted from the commander's letter in his story on Monday. He also reported on the Mayor's comments Tuesday. I've held off on posting the entire letter, while waiting to see if the PG was going to print it. (Predicting publication dates can be a tricky business, as you can see in this post.) Since her letter is now already in the burghosphere, here goes.

With permission from the commander and from Gus, I'm quoting her e-mail provided to Channel 4 Action News. Note that it was sent prior to the latest developments.

Mr. Rosendale,

[A]n article appeared in Sunday’s Post-Gazette titled “Mayor Meeting Most Goals.”

In this article, the Mayor is "graded" by the Post-Gazette on 38 pledges in 6 categories he made since taking office 10 months ago.

In the category of "Diversity," the Mayor was given a “C” because in September, 2006, he created a “Women’s Commission” intended to bring “concerns of women to the city and improve gender diversity in top staff.” This goal has stalled, however, because his chosen co-chair has moved out of town and, 10 months later, has yet to be replaced.

If the Mayor were truly sincere about his commitment to the “concerns” of women, he had a valuable and unique opportunity back in September, 2006 to tout the Command Staff of the Pittsburgh Police as a “model” of female representation in “top city staff” when 7 out of 12 people (or 58%) who held the rank of Commander or higher were female.

Since becoming Mayor, there have been seven promotions made to the Command Staff of the Pittsburgh Police. Six of those promotions were male. Today, 6 of the 14 people (or 43%) of the Command Staff is female. Sadly, Mr. Ravenstahl missed a golden opportunity, and as of the date “Ravenstahl’s Report Card” was published, the same Command Staff of the Pittsburgh Police is no longer the “model” that it was just 10 month ago.

One of the most recent males promoted to the Command Staff jumped over a number of females (and males) who have rank, formal degrees, higher degrees and well-respected police management training which highly qualifies them for such a move upward – but they were not even considered for such a move.

Additionally, as has been widely reported, the last three promotions have raised concerns to a number of women’s groups in the Pittsburgh area because of allegations of domestic abuse; however, Mr. Ravenstahl will not even address the “concerns" of these women.

My opinion is the Post-Gazette has been much too lenient in giving the Mayor a “C” in these areas. If I were his professor in “Women’s Studies” and he were my student, it would be obvious by this time that he just isn’t getting it - he would have failed my course miserably.

Catherine R. McNeilly
(The writer is a Commander with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police)


1 comment:

EdHeath said...

There are some differences in the email sent to Gus Rosendale from Commander McNeilly in your story with what is on 2PJ’s (which was evidently intended to go to the PG). For example, McNeilly mentions the off duty police administrative fee (a program her husband was somewhat associated with, I believe). The Mayor had ended the program in November before restoring it in April. Commander McNeilly objected to the PG giving the Mayor an “A” for essentially restoring the status quo instead of innovating.

The Mayor’s behavior with regard to the administrative fee mirrors his behavior with regard to the promotions and also recalls his behavior with regard to Act 47. In each case, I would argue he was forced by events to reverse his position to avoid being on the wrong side of public opinion. The Mayor evidently was involved in the Trosky promotion. I wonder if there were any women on the civil service list who could have been promoted to sergeant or lieutenant. It does seem to be something the Mayor takes seriously, I guess.