Channel 11 Exclusive: Pittsburgh mayor responds to reports of Lee offered Chief’s job

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11′s Rick Earle spoke with Mayor Ed Gainey for the first time since Earle broke the story last Friday that the Mayor had offered the police chief’s job to former Boise, Idaho Police Chief Ryan Lee. In a one-on-one interview with Earle, the Mayor repeatedly denied that he had offered anyone the job.

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Earle:  Have you not made the selection, Ryan Lee?

Mayor Gainey:  No, we are doing our due diligence.   When we are done with our due diligence we will let the people know who’s coming.

Earle:  You have three finalists?

Mayor Gainey:  We have finalists.  Who they are, I’m not going to discuss. We do have finalists.  When we make a decision, we will definitely let the people know.

Mayor Ed Gainey on Wednesday morning denying reports that he’s already offered the job to Ryan Lee.  Earle broke this story last week that Lee had been offered the job over two former Pittsburgh Police Officers, Jason Lando, and Larry Scirotto.

Lee spent years with the Portland, Oregon police department but then left to become the Police Chief in Boise, Idaho.  Lee was forced to resign after complaints of low morale in the department and accusations that he injured an officer’s neck during an impromptu restraint demonstration.

Earle: So, you haven’t made an offer to anyone?

Mayor Gainey:  We will make  decision as soon as we get the background checks.

Earle:  It was my understanding that you offered the job to Ryan Lee and he accepted.

Mayor Gainey:  When we get the background checks, it’s part of doing our whole due diligence, we will make, we will let everybody know.

Gainey would only confirm to Earle that finalists were interviewed.

Sources tell Earle that included Lee, along with Lando and Scirotto.

“All the finalists were superb interviewers.  They did an incredible job.  I’m very happy with the ones that the firms sent over that we interviewed.  We had a robust process,” said Mayor Gainey.

“I question how did we get names submitted that there are so many concerns,” asked City Council President Theresa Kail-Smith.

While Council President Kail-Smith expressed concern Tuesday about the entire selection process, the Mayor said today that he’s pleased with the list of candidates submitted by the consulting company that was paid $80,000 to conduct the search.

Gainey told Earle he hopes to have the background checks completed either this week or next week.

Earle:  So there has been no decision on a police chief?

Gainey:   You asked me that three times. Rick C’mon.

Earle:  No decision?

Gainey:  What I said to you is that we are doing our due diligence and once we are done with due diligence, we will let you know.

Earle:  Are there three finalists?

Gainey:  We have finalists.  I’m not getting into the number and all that Rick.

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