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City Council members to visit New Orleans to investigate BPD commissioner-designate

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 17:24:39-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — A two-person delegation of City Council members are planning to travel to New Orleans to conduct background interviews on the mayor's BPD Commissioner selection.

RELATED: Mayor Pugh selects New Orleans Chief as new BPD commissioner

The Baltimore City Council President Jack Young announced that Chairman Robert Stokes and Vice Chairman Kristerfer Burnett, both from the Executive Appointments Committee along with two staffers, will be in New Orleans from January 31 to February 1.

The scheduled interviews will include members of the clergy, citizen advocates, business leaders, local law enforcement officials, elected representatives and prominent civil rights attorneys who have interacted with BPD Commissioner nominee Michael S. Harrison.

Harrison was the top pick of a panel Mayor Pugh consulted this fall to give her advice on the commissioner vetting process. The panel chose Harrison because he had previous experience working under a consent decree in New Orleans and had recent success driving down homicides and violent crime in New Orleans.

Council members performed the same investigation for Mayor Pugh's original commissioner pick Joel Fitzgerald before he withdrew from the nomination.

ALSO RELATED: Mayor's police commissioner pick, Joel Fitzgerald, withdraws

Council President Young emphasized that unlike their investigation in Fort Worth, Texas for Fitzgerald, the two-delegation team was implemented for the New Orleans trip in an effort to reduce the costs to taxpayers.

"We are always looking for cost-effective ways to accomplish our charter-mandated duty to offer informed advice and consent," Council President Young said. "By reducing the size of the traveling delegation, we're able to save the taxpayer money without jeopardizing the integrity of the Council's investigation."

Harrison is scheduled to become Acting Commissioner by February 11.