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Police chief: High salary justified, redactions not

Joel Fitzgerald the police commissioner in Forth Worth, Texas is the candidate chosen by Mayor Catherine Pugh as a possible police commissioner for Baltimore.

Baltimore must carefully consider every expenditure of taxpayers’ money. As it prepares to hire yet another police commissioner, the sum of $260,000 per year has been mentioned as a salary for the latest hire. Given the situation facing the next commissioner, that salary is not excessive. Anyone who can come in and take over that agency and restore it to its former position as one of the most professionally progressive in the nation is deserving of every penny which will have been well spent (“Where do Baltimore City Council members stand on Joel Fitzgerald, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s police commissioner pick,” Dec. 12).

Is it in some way “unreasonable” for members of the City Council, who represent Baltimore’s residents, to want to know all that can be known about any applicant for that position? Or is it “reasonable” to ask those council members to blindly hire an applicant? Exactly what is at stake here? Can the citizens of Baltimore afford the time that will have been lost if the next commissioner joins the ranks of predecessors who have left prematurely, or under a cloud?

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The next commissioner needs to hit the ground running and be prepared and qualified to stay as long as it takes as there is much to do. He or she cannot afford the time that would be wasted should that individual come under the cloud of suspicion or possibly investigation, as to their professional fitness to occupy that very important position.

The citizens of Baltimore should be proud of the representatives who are insisting that they have all of the relevant information to make such an important decision for them.

Bob Di Stefano, Abingdon

The writer retired as a major from the Baltimore City Police Department.

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