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Politics & Government

Wolf To Seek New Nominee For State Police Commissioner

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AP Photo/Marc Levy

Gov. Tom Wolf said Monday that he will seek a new nominee to become the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner and replace his first choice, who was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate in what the Democratic governor called a move that put politics above the state's best interests.

Col. Marcus Brown, a former Maryland State Police superintendent, withdrew his name from consideration, Wolf's office said in a statement.

"Marcus Brown is the type of leader that Pennsylvania would be lucky to have," Wolf said in the statement. "Despite Marcus' vast and unquestioned qualifications, the Senate wrongfully rejected his nomination in a move that put politics above the best interests of the people of Pennsylvania, and it is now appropriate to select a new nominee to lead the Pennsylvania State Police."

Brown's withdrawal could end a big source of friction between Wolf and Senate Republicans ahead of what is shaping up to be a difficult state budget season.

Brown's rejection last Monday was the Senate's first such vote in at least two decades and capped a campaign by retired and current state troopers to eject him from the job. The nearly party-line vote was 26-22, with three Republicans voting with every Democrat to support Brown.

Following the Senate's vote, Wolf had suggested that he could keep Brown as acting commissioner indefinitely. But that prompted an objection from Republican Senate leaders, who said that would be unconstitutional.

The state troopers' union opposed Brown's nomination after he was filmed on video removing roadside signs near his suburban Harrisburg house that criticized him as unworthy to wear the uniform of the state troopers. The signs were planted by a retired state trooper, and harped on Brown's decision to the wear the uniform, despite not having attended the State Police Academy, as every trooper must.

The union's opposition prompted Republicans to question how Brown could lead the agency without the rank-and-file's support. Some Republicans also pointed to what they called Brown's record of questionable decision-making and forthrightness.

Brown will remain as acting police commissioner until Wolf selects a new nominee, the governor said.