PittsburghJack's Place: Political payback?

PittsburghJack's Place

an outlet for political animals to share news, views and expose truths.

Political payback?

This is not being written in defense of Dennis Regan, but with respect to the debacle at City Hall regarding Lieutenant. Catherine McNeilly's discipline and subsequent lawsuit against the city, there are a few points which I haven't noticed being discussed. The first that comes to my mind is whether Detective Francis Rende is the worst offender on the police force as far as calling off sick and whether he works more hours at off-duty private details than any other officer. Or was Rende being targeted by McNeilly because of his affiliation with her husband's political nemesis, late Mayor Bob O'Connor?

My gut tells me that Rende probably isn't the worst offender and the latter is probably the case. My gut also tells me that there were officers on the force close to Mayor Tom Murphy or the McNeillys who received preferential treatment when Murphy was Mayor and Robert McNeilly was chief. I dare the McNeillys or Murphy to state that every single promotion to detective that was made during their tenure was based purely on merit and that political affiliation played no role. Or that not one single officer worked more hours on off-duty jobs or called in sick more than Rende. Don't believe for a second that Murphy wouldn't have handed out some discipline had this incident happened during his reign. Do you think either Catherine or Robert McNeilly would have done nothing had a police official sent out mass email to council or the media challenging one of their appointments? Do ya really think they would have allowed that to happen?

Catherine McNeilly was fortunate to retain her commander position after O'Connor reorganized the brass. Her role as such wasn't to second guess mayoral appointments or promotions made by the chief, no matter how much she disagreed with them. Her role also wasn't to mete out discipline to officers who were not in favor with her husband during his chiefdom. She was also fortunate that the discipline for her role in this debacle was as lenient as it was. It could have been much worse. The outcome for Regan wasn't as good.

Perhaps Regan wasn't a good choice for public safety director, but that was Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's decision, whether or not council approval was required. And Rende's promotion to detective was approved by then-Chief Dom Costa. Whether or not Rende was the most deserving officer on the force for the promotion is not for me or McNeilly to say and the appointment doesn't require our approval. Live with it.

Make no mistake about it. Lieutenant McNeilly's actions were politically rooted. This had nothing to do with a faceless officer who abused sick time and had everything to do with an attempt to interfere with the promotion and appointment of political foes and her inability to accept that there is a new chief in town.
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At 12:01 PM, Blogger Maria said...

Two points that spring immediately to mind:

1. Rende didn't just abuse sick time. He broke up a domestic dispute on duty and then went back the same night off duty to have sex with the inebriated woman.

2. "Do you think either Catherine or Robert McNeilly would have done nothing had a police official sent out mass email to council or the media challenging one of their appointments?"

McNeilly did not email the media so it's not fair to throw that in there as if she had. Additionally, she first emailed the mayor with no response before she emailed council.

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous smittyfromtheflats@yahoo.com said...

jack...sounds like ya got some issues with woman..they are the priamry victims of any of regan's attrocities

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Is/was Rende the worst offender on the force? Who knows and - as regards the need for him to be disciplined - who cares? Rende is foul. At minimum he needs to be seriously demoted, NOT elevated to Detective status as Regan wanted to do.

Regan also threatened Southside female commander Brackney, making it clear that he'd have her back walking a beat if she didn't layoff Duke's Auto Repair. Why? Because she was correctly informing Duke's that they were in violation of the law & that they needed to cease & desist fixing autos out on the street. Don't know what the status of the investigation that was supposed to look into this is, but McNeilly may bring it up in federal court.

As for "political targeting", 3 names come to mind: Leber, Leger & Malie.

Finally, McNeilly was not "second guessing" the mayor's appointment of Regan, she was informing him of background on Regan that seriously brought into question the propriety of that appointment. When he ignored that information, she informed Council. She is a whistle blower, that function is important enough for there to be a federal law protecting these individuals.

There's no doubt, the women in this town have more balls than most of our male elected officials.

At 11:34 PM, Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

I guess I'm forever playing catch-up on this issue. How did Catherine's husband Robert McNeilly and the Ravenstahl administration get to be such bitter rivals? And Maria, did this sex thing come out during the hearing, or is this "original reportage" on your part?

At 12:46 AM, Blogger PittsburghJack said...

Bram -
I am not sure what type of relationship the McNeillys have had with Luke Ravenstahl when he was the the District One representative on council. I think the bitterness in this situation is more with the O'Connor people (Rende, Regan & Cassidy) than it is with Luke. And that is precisely the point that I was trying to convey in this post -- that it is my suspicion that is the very reason that Catherine McNeilly opposed the promotion of Rende to detective, rather than sick-time/off-duty detail abuse. It also is my contention that is why such a fuss was made by her over Regan's nomination to the public safety director's post. If we're going to be fair here, let's call a spade a spade. In doing so, disciplinary actions should be meted out fairly and not based on political or familial ties. If Rende wasn't closely tied to the O'Connor administration, would Catherine McNeilly still have singled him out for disciplinary action for the time abuse? In my eyes, it surely does matter if in fact Rende was the biggest abuser of such time abuse. If he's not, I wonder why the worse offender(s) weren't also written up? Again, even though it appears to be, my post is not, nor was it intended to be written in defense of Regan or Rende. Instead, I just wanted to examine this hot issue form another angle. I do believe, however, that those who are placing any blame on Mayor Ravenstahl for any alleged questionable activity that may have occurred, especially that activity that occurred before he became mayor, are being completely unfair. It is obvious to me that those who are relentless in trashing Luke at every turn are firmly in the political camp of one of his potential rivals in the upcoming election. Just let the guy do his job without the constant trash that is being thrown his way. The City of Pittsburgh will be much better off.


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