Former Pittsburgh chief McLay facing pushback as finalist for Seattle job
Former Pittsburgh police chief Cameron McLay is still just a finalist for the top cop job in Seattle, but he is already attracting attention over what some perceive to be a past full of controversy.
McLay is one of three finalists for the job of chief — a group that does not include Seattle's Acting Chief Carmen Best, something that has ignited ire among the community and the police, according to Seattle media.
“Best was considered an obvious choice: Cops like her, the community likes her, and an agreement between those two groups in this city is not easy to find,” Q13 Fox reporter Brandi Kruse said in a report last week .
McLay is being considered for the position along with Deputy Chief of Patrol Eddie Frizell of the Minneapolis Police Department and Assistant Chief Ely Reyes of the Austin Police Department. McLay is the only candidate who has led a large city department.
Kruse's report last week called McLay a “lightning rod of controversy,” noting the near-constant friction between the chief and the Pittsburgh police union.
McLay took over the Pittsburgh police in August 2014. He resigned in November 2016, saying it was time to “pass the torch.” The resignation came several weeks after the local Fraternal Order of Police voted they had “no confidence” in McLay's leadership.
The report also noted McLay's admission that he cheated on his recruit exam when joining the Madison, Wis., police in 1985.
Seattle's Community Police Commission has asked city council to postpone any confirmation hearings for the next chief amid “significant community concerns,” including Best's omission from the latest short list of candidates, according to My Northwest .
Best was among the top five finalists but did not make it to the final three. She was the only person of color and only woman among the top five.
According to the Seattle Times , the CPC has hired an independent expert to assess “potential legal issues or issues related to equal employment opportunities in the search process.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer.