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May 28, 2010

Peduto's Letter to Ethics Board RE Adam Ravenstahl Appointment to ALCOSAN

Pittsburgh City Councilor Bill Peduto has sent the following letter to Sister Patrice Hughes of Pittsburgh's Ethics Hearing Board regarding the appointment of Adam Ravenstahl to ALCOSAN's board.
Dear Sister Hughes:

I am requesting that the Ethics Hearing Board rule on the decision of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to nominate his brother State Representative-elect Adam Ravenstahl to the Board of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority. The City Code has rules for appointing, hiring and promoting direct family members of elected officials and employees. As the code states, the only time a direct family member can be appointed is through a waiver from the Ethics Hearing Board.
§ 197.05 EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENT OF RELATIVES.
(a) No public official or public employee shall appoint, hire, advance or advocate the appointing, hiring or advancing of a member of his direct family to a position that is under the jurisdiction or control of the city.
(b) A member of the direct family of a public official or public employee shall not be appointed, hired or advanced to a position which is under the direct jurisdiction or control of the public official or public employee.
(c) The provisions of this section may be waived by the Board upon the Board's finding that considering factors as the person's experience qualifications and the responsibility of the position, the public interest would not be harmed as a result of the waiver.
These rules are similar to those followed by state and federal officials. They were adopted and approved in 1990 when the City created the Ethics Code. Questions regarding jurisdiction apply to both elected officials and city employees. For employees, the rules of jurisdiction were to oppose attempts of supervisors hiring their own direct family members. For elected officials, it is obvious that our jurisdiction goes beyond any one department or authority.

As elected officials, the Mayor and City Council have jurisdiction over the nomination and appointment of all Board, Authority and Commission members. The Mayor has the sole responsibility of nominating candidates to these positions and Council has the sole responsibility of approving the Mayor's nominees. City Code, § 197.05 clearly states “a) No public official or public employee shall appoint, hire, advance or advocate the appointing, hiring or advancing of a member of his direct family to a position that is under the jurisdiction or control of the city.” In this case, the nomination of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority nominee is the sole jurisdiction of the Mayor.

I am formally requesting that the Ethics Hearing Board investigate this nomination to determine the legitimacy of any elected City official appointing, hiring, advancing or advocating the appointing, hiring or advancing of direct family members.
According to Peduto, Councilman Doug Shields has sent a similar letter to the State Ethics Commission.

8 comments:

Gloria said...

Big thanks to Peduto & Shields, I encourage city residents to contact their council members & let them know they do not approve of confirming Adam to Alcosan, council contact info: http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/council/

Mark Rauterkus said...

This is NOT an issue if City Council would NOT approve the appointment. So, it seems that Bill Peduto is not confident in his opinion on the matter will carry the day.

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