Nutter choice angers FOP

January 3, 2008 8:56:14 PM PST
The Fraternal Order of Police is not being shy about it's outrage over Nutter's pick for Deputy Mayor of Public Safety.

The FOP president told Action News that they were blindsided by the appointment of public defender Everett Gillison, who defended Officer Gary Skerski's killer just a couple of months ago.

"We were thinking this can't be true. This has got to be some kind of mistake and once we verified it was true, we got kicked in the stomach," said John McNesby of the FOP, who wants Nutter to reconsider his decision.

McNesby told Action News that Michael Nutter has started off on the wrong foot with police and the Mayor-elect isn't even in office yet.

Gillison recently represented cop killer Solomon Montgomery who received a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

But Nutter's press secretary Doug Oliver said Nutter's decision was based on how well Gillison did his job, and not what cases he was assigned as a pubic defender.

"As a senior attorney, he's assigned these cases. He does not have a choice as to which ones he accepts and everyone is entitled to a defense and the fact that he did his job. He shouldn't be penalized for it," said Oliver.

But the FOP said this decision was done with a certain amount of insensitivity to the police force and to the families of slain officers.

"We're not going to be able to have the Deputy Mayor of Public Safety here on our stage for our hero officers out on the street. It sends the wrong message and we were outraged by it," said McNesby.

He is also confused by the position of Deputy Mayor of Public Safety, arguing it is simply window dressing and not a real way to fight the city's crime crisis.

"I think the kitchen is too small and I think it's crowded and I think we could use one less person," he said.

Oliver countered, "It is the mayor's responsibility to staff his own administration, so it is his final call who sits where and he sees fit for this position to be here."

Nutter's spokesperson said no one is more concerned about the crime in Philadelphia than the Mayor-elect and he stands by his decision.

He added that Gillison is among the best and the brightest, handling a lot of high profile cases. He has always acted ethically and he is both qualified and credible, Oliver said.