Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald is now formally up for the job.
His nomination was read into the record of the Baltimore City Council meeting Thursday and some members are wasting no time beginning their own vetting process.
“Yeah,” Councilman Brandon Scott said, “We're going to Fort Worth and do a little digging and talk to community folks there, elected officials and other folks there. I think that we need to get as much information as possible to be able to make an informed decision.”
Scott, along with Baltimore City Council President Jack Young are part of a delegation traveling to Texas this weekend to take a closer look at the mayor's pick.
Joel Fitzgerald is a candidate WMAR-2 News was first to report last month, was not the top choice of an advisory panel Mayor Catherine Pugh used to help make her decision.
Sources tell WMAR-2 News the panel, which, in part, comprised of Superintendent of Chicago Police Eddie Johnson, Los Angeles Deputy Chief Sean Malinowski and Drew Vetter, the Director of the Mayor's Office on Criminal Justice who has since resigned, interviewed six candidates in October in Florida.
The majority believed New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison was the right pick, edging out Fitzgerald
The swaying factors were Harrison's experience with a consent decree and violent crime reductions.
Sources say the mayor bucked the consensus opinion and went instead with Joel Fitzgerald.
Mayor Pugh, who originally disputed our reporting on this, now admits she did choose Fitzgerald over the panel's suggestion because Harrison never filled out an application.
The mayor told WMAR-2 News she truly believes Fitzgerald is the right choice for Baltimore and re-iterated as such in a hastily called press conference last week.
“I think that what I've seen from Commissioner Fitzgerald, his approach to policing, his understanding and having worked in a real urban city like Philadelphia, having worked in a large environment like Texas and having been a police chief for three years was certainly a thumbs up for me,” the mayor said.
Meanwhile, Councilman Brandon Scott says they will give the public a full report of their trip to Fort Worth early next week.
After that, city council president has indicated there will be public hearings at Baltimore City Hall.
- Saturday, January 5, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (This hearing will be open to the public and allow citizens to offer testimony on the confirmation of Dr. Fitzgerald to lead the Baltimore Police Department. Members of the City Council will not offer testimony during this hearing.)
- Monday, January 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (This hearing will be open to the public but testimony will only be taken from members of the Baltimore City Council. Members of the Council will have an opportunity to question Dr. Fitzgerald in an open hearing of the Executive Appointments committee.)
City council members say there will be a confirmation vote no later than January 28th.