After years of running two or three members short of their seven seats, the Citizen Police Review Board on Sept. 27 finally played their monthly meeting with a full deck for the first time in years.
The two new board members, Deborah Walker and Mary Jo Guercio, will serve until at least 2009. Walker is a former University of Pittsburgh police officer. Guercio is director of community training and development for Community College of Allegheny County.
By the end of October, the CPRB could be short-staffed again, with four members' terms expiring, including that of the chair, Marsha Hinton, an original member.
Changes in city council and the mayor's seat after November's election may delay filling the four October board vacancies, controlled by the council and mayor. Current City Councilor Sala Udin, one of CPRB's top advocates, lost the May primary to District 6 challenger Tonya Payne, whose campaign was supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, a top CPRB opponent. Front-runner mayoral candidate Bob O'Connor voted against creating the CPRB when he was a city councilor and has not expressed any commitment to keeping it if elected mayor.
The CPRB has also lost Brian Matts, one of its two full-time investigators, who left to become a firefighter.
Board member Richard Carrington was clearly concerned about the board's future.
"Is this going to delay things for our citizens?" he asked.
"No question about it," replied Pittinger.