PITTSBURGH -- Saying his hands are tied legally, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has decided not to attempt to overturn police officer promotions that have come under fire from women's groups.
Prior allegations of domestic abuse surfaced publicly after Cmdr. George Trosky, Lt. Charles Rodriguez and Sgt. Eugene Hlavac were bumped up in rank and sworn in by Ravenstahl last week.
Representatives of the National Organization for Women and the Allegheny County-City of Pittsburgh Women's Commission have asked for the promotions to be rescinded, and a special City Council meeting was held to discuss the issue.
But on Friday, Ravenstahl issued a statement announcing that the promotions of Rodriguez and Hlavac would stand.
"While I would like nothing better than to hold back these promotions pending further scrutiny, the law is not on our side," Ravenstahl said
Chief Nate Harper could demote the two men, but "such an act would violate current rules and the city would be on thin ice legally," Ravenstahl said.
"Legally, these men have already been promoted and the only action that could now be taken by Chief (Nate) Harper would be to demote the two officers. I have been told by counsel that such an act would violate the current rules and the city would be on thin ice legally; therefore, the officers will not be demoted at this time," the statement said.
In the statement, as he has said previously, Ravenstahl claimed not to have known about potential issues in the backgrounds of Rodriguez and Hlavac, and he blasted Harper for not passing that information on earlier.
But Ravenstahl defended promotion of Trosky, who had an assault charge dropped in 1997 when his then-wife did not show up to court.
"I was aware of his decade-old issues. I was also aware of his decades of exemplary service. While promoting him was a hard decision, it is one that I stand by," Ravenstahl said.
Also, the mayor said he's starting a new policy with a standard of "zero tolerance" for domestic abuse, tighter scrutiny of candidates for promotion and better tracking of domestic-related incidents involving police.
Ravenstahl vowed to change the city's rules for promoting police officers -- a system which he called "obsolete and flawed."
"It won't stand. It must change. We must make those changes necessary to restore faith in city government," he said.
three policw officers with backgrounds of domestic abuse promoted..
should abusers be in roles of protection?
Especially, should they be in these roles in high places?