What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 8, 2007

City Workers Illegally Campaigning for Koch (with photos)

The following photographs were emailed to me. They certainly appear to show Pittsburgh City workers campaigning for City Councilman Jeff Koch on city time.

In my professional opinion as a graphic designer who has worked with Photoshop for over 10 years, the photos sent to me do not appear to be altered.

I have cropped and resized them where necessary to fit on this blog.

Detail of first photo.

According to City Code, it is ILLEGAL for city employees to campaign while on the job or in city offices:
Employees of the City are prohibited from engaging in political activity during working hours and at all times in city offices. City employees may not hold an elected public office wherein they would receive an annual salary, unless a leave of absence is taken without pay. Certain described classes of city employees and officers may be required, by ordinance, to take a leave of absence without pay while a candidate for elected public office. City employees shall not be permitted to accept any gift or thingof value in connection with their employment other than their salary, nor be compelled to contribute to any fund other than that required by law. No solicitation shall be made of a city employee for any purpose during working hours. Nothing contained in this section shall affect the right of city employees to support a political party, to vote as they choose, to hold party office or to express publicly and privately their opinions on political subjects and to attend political meetings. [emphasis added]
It should be noted that Jeff Koch was employed in the Public Works Department prior to being elected to City Council.

I have, however, been given no evidence that he approved of these Public Works employees' actions.

Jeff Koch is running for reelection in Council District 3.

His opponent is Bruce Kraus who came within 200 votes of Koch in a crowded field in last year's special election.

Kraus has received the endorsement of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this year as he did last year. The P-G has pointed out that Kraus is more independent than Koch -- one may see these photos as evidence of that.

This is my Council district and I will be casting my vote for Bruce Kraus.

UPDATE!: I've been informed that these photographs were taken today between 10:30 AM and 11:00 AM in Allentown at the corner of Allen and Industry Street. Allentown is in Council District 3.

Also, one of the men pictured is reported to be Koch's campaign Treasurer Ray Sansone (sp?)

The shirts are also reported to be the exact same color as the public works uniform T-shirts. Who paid for these shirts?

UPDATE 2!: The Tribune-Review now has the story:
Members of a Pittsburgh Public Works crew face possible disciplinary action for wearing T-shirts advertising a city councilman's reelection bid while cleaning up a section of Allentown this morning.


Koch said he did not know about the photos. He said it was wrong of the workers to wear the shirts, which his campaign made about three weeks ago.

"I certainly wouldn't advocate that," Koch said. "I've been in Public Works 29 years, I know better than that. I didn't ask anybody to do anything."

Public Works Director Guy Costa said the city has a policy that requires the department's employees to be in uniform at all times.

"They're out of uniform and the city does have a uniform policy," Costa said. "Appropriate discipline will be taken. You have to wear the uniform that the city provides."

Costa would not discuss possible disciplinary measures, and said he could not immediately identify the workers in the photo.

UPDATE 3!: As does the Post-Gazette:
The City of Pittsburgh's celebrated Redd-up Crew was photographed today wearing campaign T-shirts, spurring disciplinary warnings.


One of the workers photographed is Ray Sansone, treasurer of the Koch campaign, though the pictures do not clearly show whether he was wearing a campaign shirt. Ken Wolfe said he was.

"I said, 'Ray, what's up with the T-shirts?' " Mr. Wolfe said. "He said, 'I can wear any T-shirt I want.' "

Mr. Sansone could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ken Wolfe said he later returned to the scene and was met by Kevin Quigley, manager of the Redd-up Campaign. He said Mr. Quigley threatened to call the police on him for "harassing" city workers while on the job. Mr. Wolfe then called 911, and a police officer arrived but made no arrests.

NOTE: it appears that Agent Ska was also sent the same photos.


Anonymous said...

Luke uses billboards, Koch uses the backs of city employees. "Everybody's doing it".

T. Durden said...

glad to see my tax dollars are being put to good use. do you think the city paid for those tshirts too?

Gary said...

Yeah...It's also illegal for the President to use uniformed members of the military as props in his press conferences....But he does...And no one ever calls him out on it.

Well, we do...But nothing ever happens.

Send those pics to your local media...They might have some fun with that info!

Anonymous said...

The Trib is covering it:

Anonymous said...

Will Luke's best friend and drinking buddy Kevin Quigley be disciplined for allowing his employees to wear the shirts?

Skip said...

Ken Wolfe said Mr. Quigley threatened to call the police on him for "harassing" city workers while on the job.

Sounds like Quigley, indeed, 'needs disclipined'. Who the hell does he think he is for threatening to call the cops on citizen activists who are attempting to ensure that the law is being followed in a campaign, in a democracy?

Jason Phillips said...

Thinking along a different line my question is this. Ken Wolfe is a campaign worker/ supporter of Bruce Kraus? Isn't that against the rules of the Democratic Committee for a Committee Member to support an unendorsed candidate?

Like the City workers being disciplined should expect Ken Wolfe to be disciplined by the Democratic Committee?

rico said...

Over zealous campaign workers. Should have better sense, but hardly a major issue. They were working! If this is a make or break issue for Council District 3, God help us all!!!

Bram Reichbaum said...


Matt H said...

Koch didn't condone it and had no idea about it.

"T. Durden"---are you serious?

Maria said...

1. The Koch Campaign created shirts that were the exact same color as the Public Works Dept. shirts that ended up on the backs of Public Works employees.

2. Koch's own Finance Dir. was one of the Public Works workers who wore the shirt.

3. Koch has not fired his Finance Dir.

And, what does Matt H take away from the above facts? That "Koch didn't condone it and had no idea about it."

Sounds about right for Matt.

O said...

My back is available to the next candidate who wants it. I'm reasonably priced.

Anonymous said...

ken wolfe is a JAGOV!!!!where was he when this crew had O'connor shirts on these guys work their asses off. Like I said the ACDC is so full of shit, did elmer fudd, I mean jim burn the head asshole reprimand wolfey--NO, this crew is fantastic, I've seen them work. All the good they do and you jagovs lamblast them for wearing a t-shirt--WTF people