Special double financial oversight hasn’t been a total disaster. After a world-historic economic boom and bust, austerity measures born largely by city workers allowed Pittsburgh enough time to reclaim its riverfronts, better exploit its universities and achieve semblances of vibrancy, distinction and stability by the time city living came roaring back into vogue.
Yesterday the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations held a special meeting for the sole seeming purpose of determining whether and how to punish one of its members for publicly discussing her concerns about that body’s search for a new Director.
New Commissioner Helen Gerhardt called it “an improper process” plagued by a lack of transparency and accountability and added that the next director could have an impact on the “daily lives of many thousands who work, visit, or live in Pittsburgh for decades to come.”
Ms. Gerhardt, who has frequently clashed with the commission’s leadership over the hiring process, said commissioners were only given the resume of Ms. Rogers, the preferred candidate of the commission’s personnel committee, at the July 30 meeting. Ms. Gerhardt’s request to see the resumes of other finalists was refused.
“We were expected to do an up-or-down vote on the candidate without having the time to look at [resumes]. And commissioners were not supposed to do outside research or to bring it to the personnel committee for consideration,” she said. (P-G, Zullo & Potter)
Yesterday, that was Commissioner Leah Williams-Duncan’s pointed concern. Duncan had been chairwoman Continue reading →
ALCOSAN, the City / County sewer authority, has begun investing billions in a centennial overhaul. But ALCOSAN officials are not shopping around for an engineering firm to manage the lion’s share, having settled into a favorite named AECOM. One board member actually resigned because contracting decisions seemed too thinly justified to be associated with.
It is probably time for elected-on-autopilot Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein, who chairs the ALCOSAN board and is responsible for how these decisions get made, to step into the limelight. He can begin providing real public accountability for the whole sensational undertaking, instead of public relations.
Quality source material helps make for good television. August Wilson is sometimes considered one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century.
It is remarkable how cable television has conditioned us to expect new content in ten-episode seasons, and here Wilson provides a tidy package of ten plays about a timely topic: race in America, and the ongoing struggle to heal certain wounds.
All of which suggests that this HBO series is probably going to earn a lot of attention and acclaim.
First: hurry! You have only until the end of this week to sign up for autumn’s Citizens Police Academy, an informal 15-week course designed to help you get better acquainted with how our city’s Bureau of Police works.
It’s a good class for everybody from neighborhood or organizational participants who want to work more closely with law enforcement on their block or at their events, to social justice activists seeking to deepen their understanding of the 5-0’s perspectives.
They don’t try to convince you that they’re all angels, so much as provide information as they see it and live it. It’s a good atmosphere for back-and-forth.
Meanwhile we caught up with Police Chief Cameron McLay the other day, and asked him his reading recommendations for understanding policing challenges in the modern era. Here is what he had for us: Continue reading →
When Pittsburgh’s mayor sided with state Republicans and against Governor Tom Wolf on the issue of public pensions, it was a one-day story for most of Pennsylvania.
But within Pittsburgh’s Democratic machine, his position may be adding fuel to what had been the quietly smoldering embers of factional division.
Peduto supports a Republican-backed state Senate budget proposal that would have switched new state employees, including legislators, from defined benefits to defined contribution plans similar to a 401(k), in which employees have the option to save and invest some of their paychecks, a portion of which the employer matches. (Trib, Bauder & Daniels)
A week later, at the Democratic Committee vote to nominate a new County Council member in the east (congratulations, Paul Klein!) our own Committee precinct rep criticized that proposal to us as placing the retirements of public safety personnel in jeopardy, Continue reading →
Pittsburgh’s CHR is “a law enforcement agency which derives its authority from the City Fair Practices Provisions found in Article V, Chapters 651 through 659 of the Pittsburgh City Code. These provisions make it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, family status (housing), age, ancestry, national origin, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, handicap or disability, [or] retaliation“
Four months ago, the painstakingly reassembled Commission showed signs of trouble in its process of selecting a new Executive Director. The Personnel Committee continued to have strained relations with the rest of the Commission. Last month, they all thought they had come together on an agreeable selection. But alas, that applicant had withdrawn their interest.
A kid was stopped by police as he was driving. Police suspected the guy was somebody else of a similar name and description — an alleged bad actor. Despite presenting three forms of identification, and after extended officer huddling and teleconferencing, he remained under suspicion. At length, and contrary to police policy, an officer entered the young man’s vehicle. A confusing scuffle ensued, the car moved forward, the kid (Leon, his name is Leon Ford) was shot in the spine, Continue reading →