What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 8, 2006

Lesson #1: Don't Piss-Off City Hall

This story continued.

Ah, the Ravenstahl administration. Such a friendly place! A place where each employee knows that the Mayor is on his or her side. Well, some of the employees, at least. Certainly employees named "Dennis."

Let's bring you all up-top-date. Dennis Regan resigns even though an investigation finds "no conclusive evidence" of any wrong doing in regards to the complaints brought to City Council from Commander Catherine McNeilly. Here's how KDKA's Andy Sheehan described the situation surrounding Regan's resignation:
Regan has been on paid leave ever since critics claimed he improperly intervened on behalf of his live-in girlfriend's brother, a city police officer.
Commander McNeilly allegedly informed the mayor and city council that Regan had intervened to save the job of a detective.
Of course there's absolutely nothing wrong going on there! There's not even the appearance of impropriety there. Well, maybe a little. But Mayor Luke said he found no conclusive evidence of any wrong doing. We the taxpayers of the city won't get to see the details, though. You know how it is.

Of course, for her troubles, Catherine McNeilly was demoted:
Catherine McNeilly, a key figure in the controversy surrounding former city of Pittsburgh Operations Director Dennis Regan, was demoted to the rank of lieutenant yesterday.

Lt. McNeilly, formerly commander of the Zone 1 station, is now working in the Warrant Office, a Police Bureau official said. The change reduces her salary from $77,927 to $67,764. It also makes her a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, giving her job protections commanders do not have.
And here's what's in The Trib:
Pittsburgh police Chief Nathan E. Harper on Thursday demoted a veteran police commander who had accused one of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's top aides of meddling in police affairs.
What did she do? From the P-G:
Lt. McNeilly, wife of former Chief Robert W. McNeilly Jr., sent a memo to City Council members Oct. 9 in which she questioned the handling of a disciplinary case against Detective Francis Rende. She alleged that Mr. Regan, then Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's nominee for public safety director, had blocked discipline against the detective, who is the brother of Mr. Regan's housemate.

Her memo gave council members details of the allegations against Detective Rende and said Mr. Regan lacked "the capacity to act fairly when it comes to disciplinary matters against our officers."
But we're forgetting the cherry on top of the sundae:
Also Friday, Mr. Ravenstahl said what Lt. McNeilly did was not an act of whistleblowing.
Of course not. But Regan resigned anyway.

So Dennis takes a free pass and Cathy gets a $10K cut in pay.


EdHeath said...

This is 2006, not 1950, or 1920, or 1900. When the machine punishes people, it is broadcast all over the place. Maybe the Yinzers will say "She deserved it for bein' nebby". If so, we will get the city we deserve ...

Scott said...

How can the PG POSSIBLY conclude that Luke has made no major mistakes so far??? Girls, just because a boy smiles at you and says nice things to you to get you to 'dance' doesn't mean he's a nice boy. Do they really not understand the danger of placing a puppet in power? The people deserve a mayor who is his own person & is mature enough to have his own ideas, not someone who is window-dressing for hacks, other politicians and self-serving financiers. He's still riding the wave of projects initiated under O'Connor (e.g. 311 line, Capital Asset purchase advertised today, etc.) and his fumbling of the McNeilly-Regan situation, on top of his initial promotion of Regan, tells you what he's (not) made of (or what his inner circle is made of) when left to his own devices.

Richmond K. Turner said...

I saw that editorial in the Post-Gazette, too, Scott. And it made me scratch my head. Not only has he made a number of really obvious mistakes, but he has made them all in a very short period of time. WTF was in the brownies at the P-G office Christmas -- oops, I mean Holiday -- party?

The Burgher said...

Over on my portion of the internet tubes, I examine the PA state whistleblower law. It is pretty clear McNeilly has a good case.
Tuhis is going to backfire on Luke.

Anonymous said...

It's about time some intrepid reporter takes a trip to the Land of the Misfit Cops - paging McNeilly, Brackney & Costa... oh the tales they could tell.

Also I invite everyone who's beefing about local media's sleep walking thru this news to start writing letters to the editors (you can send them via email) & calling radio & tv news directors. They don't cover it mostly because they don't think people care.

rich10e said...

edheath is right;it's not 1950,but the poliitcs praticed by the Ravenstahl Administration certainly harkens back to the 1960's of Chicago Boss Richard Daley.Dennis Regan was exonerated; Catherine McNeilly was vilified and demoted;and Luke had tea with Sarah Jessica Parker.There is an unabashed ruthlessness about this series of events.No smoke,no mirrors.

Regan went after female Police Commanders: Brackney and McNeilly.Interim Mayor Ravenstahl has sanctioned this selective disciplinary practice.Solicitor Specter, who has blood on his hands from the Thursday Massacre,issued the top secret report absolving Regan.Chief Harper provided the coup de grace by demoting Commander McNeilly.The biggest victims of this charade are the people of Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Screw Cathy McNeilly (at your own peril). The McNeillys have been playing this act for years -- they ratfuck and play politics with the best of them, then they stand back and say, "Well, shucks, we're just cops." Bullshit. They play the game and there's a cost. In this case, it's 10 grand.

jeffrey said...

To all,
Some important facts:The police officer Catherine McNeilly went after was a very good friend of the late Mayor Bob O' Conner. The officer was not perfect but was a strong proponent of Mr. McNeilly being replaced, so you had to like the man.
If Catherine McNeilly is the benchmark of a strong voice for good, honest police work, why is she sounding off so loud in defense of her crony Commander RaShall Brackney and the "Obstruction of Justice" debacle in the strip district? If the public knew that Ms. McNeilly’s friend Commander Brackney was at present in the process of another cover up. This time for an unbalanced police officer under her command who threatened to “off” some folks. No biggie. I don't hear any whistle's blowing now. Ms. McNeilly is the manifestation of a severe case of advanced cronyism selective whistle tooting syndrome.

Freedom of speech? HELLO!
Ms. McNeilly and her husband former Chief Robert McNeilly were the censorship equivalent to Joseph Stalin.
And in closing;
Pursuant to the American with Disabilities Act Catherine McNeilly is not able to perform the essential functions of the job for which she was hired for. Two of those essential function are the ability to communicate clearly and run. She can do neither. The law does not state the city has to create a job for her. She should not even be there. Individuals with the same chronic incurable illness were force to retire. Catherine McNeilly did research on ways to get around the ADA so she and her husband could meet out punitive measures against those who were ill. This was before she was stricken with MS.
If you are so interested in potential liability and possible future taxpayer payouts, watch as the weak willed city leaders allow this individual to wear a uniform and carry a gun. The negligent retention here is inconceivable.

85 G will seem like nothing.
A Concerned Citizen