BALTIMORE, (WMAR) — Hours after Baltimore Police Commissioner nominee Joel Fitzgerald withdrew from consideration, a lot of questions remain about what's next in the process.
"I think they have fumbled this nomination at every turn," councilman Brandon Scott said.
Scott calls his withdrawal inevitable and not surprising. Gov. Larry Hogan questions the process.
"It certainly hasn't been handled in the way that it should have been handled. There's no question about that," Hogan said.
Mayor Catherine Pugh nominated Fitzgerald in November. Now she's forced to pick a new top cop because he will be staying in Texas. So far, she's said interim commissioner Gary Tuggle will continue to lead the department, writing in statement released earlier today, "Tuggle is on the job and very ably managing the day-to-day affairs of the Baltimore Police Department, along with his command staff. I will, of course, be communicating further on the process to select Baltimore’s permanent Police Commissioner.”
Tuggle is the third commissioner in the last year. Hogan says Fitzgerald bowing out is a crippling blow for the larger efforts of getting violence under control in Baltimore.
"It's very difficult to come up with a violent crime strategy that works without any continuity," Hogan said.
Pugh initially planned on making herself available to the media today but canceled at the last minute without an explanation, leaving a lot of questions about what's next in the process.
"The rules are made up. The mayor gets to make that determination solely on her own," Scott said.
Scott says she's not beholden to a timeline and the council doesn't have the power to make a nomination, but hopes this time around, it's a much more public process. He says they requested a shortlist of candidates and were not given access.
"We heard from the community that they think there should be a lot more input," Scott said.
Baltimoreans like Eleanor Francis have their own questions about transparency.
"What did he do it Texas that made you think he could come here and solve this problem? What evidence do you have? Share that. Has he rebuilt neighborhoods? Has he done community policing?" Francis said.
Francis and others in Baltimore think the next commissioner should be a local.
"Someone who knows the symptoms. They've been here. They've seen the impact over generations," Francis said.
"I think we have enough police in Baltimore City that someone here that knows how the city operates can do the job here so why not use someone in house?" Johnny Dow said.