PEDUTO PROVIDES GOVERNMENT! DRAMA ENSUES!

Before exploring how everything is changing, let us begin with the transition buy-outs:

Peduto expects the plan to generate cost savings by eliminating at least one third of the positions of the employees to retire under SIP… The program will cost the city $3,626,168.33 in payouts over the next two years, less than the $4.4 million the Peduto administration originally estimated. (PBT, Tim Schooley)

Skepticism remains whether the savings from trimming staff will really offset payouts… but we have to remember, the Mayor’s logic also was in advantages of transferring and redefining many positions, in going “back to the drawing board” on certain parts of government. It’s hardly personal, it’s just a marker of transition.

That controversy is completed. Next?

The nomination of Ms. Kennedy, who previously headed up the Bureau of Licensing and Inspection in Philadelphia, has troubled some. Though she comes to Pittsburgh with high marks for modernizing the bureau in Philadelphia, she fails to meet the minimum qualifications spelled out in the job description. She is neither a certified architect nor an engineer, and she lacks certification as a building code officer. (P-G, Moriah Balingit)

Previous reporting has Kennedy set to take the state certification test in April.

An architect, or an engineer, or a building code officer. Would a certified architect be certain to possess the knowledges of a building code officer? How about a certified engineer, should we presume they are capable of enforcing building codes? It seems as though the framers of this role at some instant wished to convey, “The Director needs to be qualified, somehow.”

Perhaps City Council should quiz Kennedy from the PA Building Code Officer Test Study Guide. At least there will be right answers.

The real heat that has everyone’s saucepan simmering concerns the Mayor’s settling on a permanent Director of Public Safety, and starting on the process towards a permanent Chief of Police, and hey, maybe the Citizens Police Review Board. Meanwhile, some remember when the post of Public Safety Director was considered a bookkeeping artifact.

And finally, here is the BIG KAHUNA: 45 Next Pittsburgh board appointments and nominees. We shall cover them, one at a time, in the manner of a Rotisserie League Baseball Scouting Handbook. Check back occasionally as our handbook grows. From the top we note that some forms of diversity appear impressive in this administration, while others remain difficult to gauge.

Brenda Smith: The Nine-Mile Run Watershed Association is appropriate to ALCOSAN and its green infrastructure push. Giving $900 to the Peduto campaign over 2011 and 2012 seems modest.

Greg Jones: Economic Development South is apropos from an intergovernmental collaboration perspective, necessary to ALCOSAN.  Cannot find any contribution trail, but they’ve walked and talked in Carrick.

Silvia Wison: The new School Board member and former PFT official from Lincoln-Lemmington… already serves on ALCOSAN as the joint City/County appointee. Anybody want to fire a bullet at that? No donations necessary.

Silvia Fields: Hailing most recently from the Eden Hall Foundation, she could be joining the RAD board to advance the cultivation of women and girls in our regional assets. Can’t find any donations.

Don Linzer: Schneider Downs corporate finance. Attorney, accountant, real estate services. Appears to represent some continuity from Ravenstahl-times on the RAD. Can’t find any donations, personal or corporate.

Enid Miller: Can’t find much. Appears to hail from North Point Breeze or Homewood, in Operation Better Block country, to be retired, and to donate occasionally in the low 3-figures to Obama and the Democrats… as well as $100 to Peduto in December of 2012. Enjoy this individual, Housing Authority!

Laura Washington: The president of AHRCO, with endlessly applicable affiliations. Looks immersed in all aspects of the business of affordable housing. $500 to Peduto after he won the primary. A Milton Washington of AHRCO gave as much to Peduto back in 2009.

Peter Robert Kaplan:  PNC Financial Services Group. Vice President and Senior Originator at one point, which is a funny title. Had been on the board of Action Housing. Donates a lot to Democrats on the national level, including Harry Reid and Joe Sestak. Cannot find anything local yokel as an individual, but obviously PNC Bank plays the field. Enjoy this individual, Housing Authority!

Leroy Morgan: After that, of course now we require a Leroy. Can’t find much on this one, but he appears to have an office in Oak Hill. That sure is exciting, for a Housing Authority appointee. No donations.

Lena Andrews: As recently as 2012 had been a Senior Planning Specialist at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, who has had something to say about sustainability. Now also with Action Housing, so there is a certain fondness for that organization. No donations.

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

ANALYSIS SO FAR:  This is tremendous.

Jeff Cohen: This could be one of several Jeff Cohens. Maybe the one from the Smallman St. Deli. We wonder if it’s not the guy from Black N’ Gold Sunday and the KDKA Warmathon. We imagine it might be either / both of the Jeff Cohens who donated to Natalia Rudiak or Dan Gilman. No Jeff Cohens donated to our Mayor. We’ll find out in due time, as he’s is vetted for the politically electric Parking Authority. Meanwhile…

Loralyn Fabian: is far easier to get a bead on! Planning Coordinator for ELDI. Has worked on green infrastructure with roots in design. No donations. Super-fantastic she is slated for the Parking Authority, a superior slot for wielding that CDC’s expertise than some others.

Aradhna Oliphant: President and CEO of Leadership Pittsburgh, which you can learn more about here. Helped to facilitate and welcome One Young World conventioneers. On the advisory committee of the Forbes Funds, on upon whose board husband Grant Oliphant of the Pittsburgh Foundation serves. In addition to many other initiatives, that foundation recently partnered with Peduto in the Talent City recruitment process. With this appointment to the Parking Authority, Mayor Peduto is really introducing his partners in the foundation community to City government, and (if I know City Council) to the people.

Cathy Qureshi: The former deputy City Finance Director under Ravenstahl, now Administration and Finance Director at the Parks Conservancy, will have an exceedingly pleasant re-appointment to the Parking Authority. There may be palm fronds. It would be well-deserved, considering her intimate expertise and capability. No donations.

Andrea Geraghty: This property attorney at Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, a graduate of IUP and Duqesne and resident of Point Breeze is headed to the Water & Sewer Authority. She chaired Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s energy vision team. That’s grist for your mill. She has donated in moderate amounts to several local progressive officeholders, as well as District 8 candidate Jeanne Clark.

Caren Glotfelty: Another fan of Jeanne Clark the environmental activist, and formerly Environmental Director of the Heinz Endowments, which definitely signals the direction of PWSA. Not an industry accomplice, this one.

Alex Thomson: The attorney with Houston Harbaugh is head of its corporate practice group. He and Peduto studied citywide WiFi together in 2004, so maybe PWSA is fixing to innovate technologically. Three members of that firm together donated a sum of $2000 to Peduto’s campaign.

ADDENDUM ON PWSA: City employees Margaret Lanier (Treasurer) and Debbie Lestitian (Chief Administration Officer) are also being reappointed and appointed, respectively. This may signal a Mayoral desire to run this particular Authority intimately, in conjunction with inherited outside management at Veolia Water. The instinct to clutch PWSA close to the vest is familiar: Mayor Ravenstahl in 2011 had the inclination to appoint to it his brother, State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl.

Reverend John Welch: Vice President at the Pgh. Theological Seminary, previously of Deloitte, Grubb & Ellis, member and honoree of the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network (PIIN). PIIN affiliations include Pittsburgh United, the “community, environmental, and labor alliance”. Has spoken about needs on the North Side. Take that, Sports & Exhibition Authority.

Jill Weimer: From the law firm Littler Mendelson, represents clients in “a broad range of employment law matters”. That expertise is on its way to the SEA as well. Donated a few hundred to Dan Gilman.

Stanley Lederman, Esq.: Attorney. Private practice. May or may not have a ballfield in Frick Park named after him, or a relation. Hence, Stadium Authority. Gave a cool hundred dollars to Luke; other half of the power couple gave similarly to Bill and Natalia.

Jay Anderko: An computer wizard, for the Stadium Authority! Senior architecture analyst at Del Monte Foods, which has a headquarters on Stadium Authority turf.  Previously with Fischer Scientific. No donations. Maybe he just wants to update the stadium website. UPDATE: Turns out, is @BurghJay. #Twitterfam

Jim Malanos: Also for the Stadium Authority, a principle at Baker Young Corporation, real estate brokerage and management consultants. Helped Rich Fitzgerald with his visioning process. A significant supporter of Luke Ravenstahl and his past allies, and a supporter of Jack Wagner during the primary. Gave $2,500 to Peduto thereafter. The first individual on this list to throw a deal of political money around locally.

More to come…

11 thoughts on “PEDUTO PROVIDES GOVERNMENT! DRAMA ENSUES!

  1. Shawn Carter

    Structural engineers can legally sign off on building plans. When people wish to save buildings in very bad shape, when the City decides to demolish those buildings, a structural engineer is required to certify to a judge that the building can be saved.

    Architects design buildings and draw up those blueprint-thingys.

    You’re not serious in your belief that the Department of Buildings mightn’t be better off with one of those two types of professionals as its Superintendent who is certified as a building code officer, are you?

    Efficiency, web-based permitting, aggressive stance on blight (well, as aggressive as property rights in this state allows aside) are all stretches to the first and primary responsibility of BBI (Formerly the Department of Buildings): Make sure that buildings don’t fail structurally, leading to the loss of life and limb.

    Next you’ll tell us that Public Works should hire urban planners to inspect bridges. Sheesh

    Reply
    1. MH

      Maybe I spend way too much time in Oakland, but I don’t see why an aggressive stance on blight is secondary.

      Reply
      1. Shawn Carter

        How much blight can be attributed to owners we can locate and enforce the laws against?

        The solution to blight is aggressive management, because I don’t know how effective it is to cite decedent owners of blighted properties.

        Then again, the biggest slum property owner in the City has simply refused to maintain its proliferating stockpile of these properties for lack of concern about the impactbof blight upon communities.

        Aggressive blight remediation costs money — $20M/yr.

        How much do we care?

      2. Bram Reichbaumbramr101 Post author

        Shawn, that’s why things like Act 47, a debt load correction strategy, and nonprofit sector participation are inextricably linked to the provision of essential city services like building code enforcement.

    2. Bram Reichbaumbramr101 Post author

      I bet she’ll earn more than the legally required number of votes for confirmation. From everything we know about BBI, they don’t lack for knowledgeable building inspectors, they lack sorely for efficiency in management and the capacity to complete a sufficient caseload. This selection seems geared to address these deficiencies. Of course it would behoove her to pass that exam.

      Reply
      1. Shawn Carter

        Is saying she WILL be confirmed the same as saying it is appropriate to do so?

        When did “progressives” adopt such policies? They sure didn’t used to talk like that.

      2. Bram Reichbaumbramr101 Post author

        “Talking like that” is necessary when there is a legitimate judgement call, and not when something is just beyond the pale. You may be accustomed to a lot of highly luminous pale.

  2. Steve French

    Did you intentionally leave out O’Connor’s ALCOSAN appointment, or just not get to it yet? I suppose city council appointees could be dismissed as placeholders, but I think there is some rhyme and/or reason: O’Connor recently took over the chair of the Four Mile Run Working Group (tons of ALCOSAN money is going to be spent upgrading The Run, which O’Connor represents, and further up in the watershed); Gross appointed to PWSA means another Green-friendly–or at least Peduto-friendly–board member in a water-related slot; and Gilman goes to SEA, just because Bill likes the Pens. The EPA consent decree’s multi-billion dollar storm/sewer upgrade is the biggest ticket development item in the city and county’s future. Great to see Bill putting environmentally friendly folks in charge, as he said he would. And getting back to the ALCOSAN board, what a refreshing change from current crusty politicos like Readshaw, Weinstein and Jack Shea.

    Reply
    1. Bram Reichbaumbramr101 Post author

      I’m pretty sure I’m going to skip the Councilmanic appointments, since its a given one needs to go on each board anyway… but thanks very much for the perspective. I hope Gilman is on the SEA to both assist the Pens’ objectives AND put them in their place wrt ours.

      Reply
  3. Anonymous

    So council positions on boards. Will their be musical chairs? Will the Rev. Ricky play or will he be glued to his seat in Housing? What about Ferlo? I seem to be interest in who’s on the way out.

    Reply

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