PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto told Target 11 on Tuesday that he understands the Fraternal Order of Police union has some issues with the chief, but said a call for a “No Confidence” vote isn’t the way to go about fixing things.
When asked about the vote taking place, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay declined to comment.
“Again, I’ve said before, I’d really rather not talk about labor management issues through the media. So I appreciate you asking, but I’ll follow up through other channels,” he said.
The controversial vote comes after several high-profile squabbles between the union and the police chief, including McLay’s decision to prohibit officers from wearing riot gear during April’s Donald trump rally, forced overtime during the Pittsburgh Marathon and Beyoncé concert and the chief’s controversial speech at the Democratic Convention. The union claims McLay violated city code by speaking at a political event in uniform.
Peduto came to McLay’s defense Tuesday.
“As long as I’m the mayor of the city of Pittsburgh, Cameron McLay is the chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” he said.
The mayor said he plans to meet with police union representatives to discuss efforts at improving morale, but he said a “No Confidence” vote does more harm than good.
“I hope the officers understand when they do this, it separates them from the people of Pittsburgh. It separates the rank and file officers from the people who support this chief, and we will work together on issues to build morale. This isn’t the way to do it,” Peduto said.
Union members can participate in the vote online until Sept. 12. The vote carries no weight and is purely symbolic.
The last time the union held such a vote was 20 years ago when members passed a “No Confidence” vote in Police Chief Bob McNeilly. After the vote, McNeilly went on to serve nearly a decade as the chief.