Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said this morning that he would not appoint a new police chief before he leaves office at the end of the year, saying it would be “rushed” and unfair to his successor.
“It wouldn’t be fair in my mind to the next mayor to not have him or her have the chance to choose their chief especially given all the recent activity around the bureau,” he said.
Following a two-hour meeting with federal investigators on Feb. 20, Mr. Ravenstahl said he learned things that led him to ask Chief Nate Harper to resign. He has begun the search process for a new chief but said March 1 he would not run for reelection.
The mayor also reiterated today that he was not aware of a federal investigation at the police bureau until Feb. 14, the day it appeared in news reports, when investigators carried boxes out of bureau headquarters.
But the attorney for Sandra Ganster, the head of personnel and finance at the police bureau, said his client took concerns to public safety director Mike Huss on Feb. 9.
She told Mr. Huss she was directed to divert thousands of dollars in checks written to the city to an account at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union.
Asked why Mr. Huss didn’t forward the information to the mayor, Mr. Ravenstahl said, “I don’t know if at that point he felt it was important to report that to me or if he felt there was anything wrong.”
The mayor said Mr. Huss has spoken with federal investigators on a regular basis recently but Mr. Ravenstahl was unsure whether they had officially interviewed Mr. Huss.