Pittsburgh police Acting Chief Regina McDonald not a candidate for permanent job

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Acting Pittsburgh police Chief Regina McDonald said Wednesday afternoon that she has no intention of applying to become the permanent police chief.

Her remarks came about the same time that Mayor Bill Peduto announced he was asking the board members of 10 city authorities to resign, clearing the way for his appointees.

Reached by phone, Chief McDonald, who will turn 64 next month, said, "I have no intention of applying" for the permanent police chief position.

"I'm forced to retire in February," she said.

City Code states that firefighters and police officers must retire when they turn 65, except for the fire chief and the "superintendent of police." It was not immediately clear whether the term "superintendent of police," a term used decades ago to describe the head of the department, would apply to the acting or permanent police chief.

Chief McDonald previously served as assistant chief of administration before she became the acting police chief last February, when ex-Mayor Luke Ravenstahl asked former police Chief Nate Harper to resign.

Mr. Harper pleaded guilty last year to one count of conspiracy after federal prosecutors said he and others in the bureau worked to divert checks from the department into off-the-books accounts and Mr. Harper used some of the money for his personal expenses.

Mr. Peduto said Wednesday night that he will not make a decision regarding a new police chief until a public safety director is chosen, likely this week. The public safety director will meet with the bureau's command staff before making a final decision on the chief, he said.

Kevin Acklin, chief of staff for Mr. Peduto, said that process will likely take between six and nine months and the administration intends to conduct a national search.

Also on Wednesday, Mr. Peduto sent letters to former mayoral appointees of 10 city authorities, asking them to step down before February board meetings and clearing the way for his selections.

Mr. Peduto plans to use Talent City, a foundation-backed initiative meant to encourage merit-based hiring, to fill the vacant board seats. The positions are posted at http://talent-city.com/jobs/ and current board members can reapply. Applicants will be screened by a bipartisan committee, which will select finalists. Mr. Peduto will then pick from the finalists.

Lexi Belculfine contributed. First Published January 15, 2014 5:29 PM

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