A single tweet suggesting Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald was the mayor's pick to become Baltimore's next commissioner drew a congratulatory response from Fort Worth's mayor, Betsy Price, setting city leaders here scrambling for answers.
"Well, first and foremost, it's our mayor's announcement that I'm waiting to hear, and I've spoken to her today, and she said, 'No decision has been made', and she's not commenting on all this, but I am,” said Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, “We have a mayor. She's in charge. She says no decisions have been made and I wish other mayors would tend to their own cities and leave ours to working ours."
Just a week ago, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said of the 50 applicants for the top cop's job, the list had been narrowed, but she made it clear she would not rush the process.
"I said we would get there,” said Pugh, “I am doing a thorough look at who should be the commissioner for this city. We've had a panel. We've looked at it. So, I'm excited about how we move forward."
Excitement, which was obviously derailed by what appeared to be another city announcing that decision.
State Delegate Nick Mosby, a former city councilman, said this about the apparent leak.
"We wouldn't want another city to announce exactly where our new police commissioner is coming from so if it's true, I'm sure that it's not planned at all."
Whether he proves to be the city's top candidate or not, scrutiny of Fitzgerald's career and performance in Fort Worth has followed the awkward announcement, and Mosby says there's nothing wrong with that.
"Look, we've had four police commissioners or we'll have four police commissioners in less than a year... five in three years,” said Mosby, “I think it's right for the citizens of Baltimore, for the leaders of this city, the elected officials to scrutinize as much as possible anyone that's coming to Baltimore, because we cannot fail on this one."
For her part, Mayor Pugh has long stated that she planned on making a decision about her next police commissioner by the end of the month, and on that point, she has not wavered.