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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Heads Up: Morning headlines for March 14

Posted By on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Joseph Brimmeier, who just a few months ago nearly became the head of our Port Authority, is one of eight people named in a grand jury presentment alleging a "pay-to-play" scheme at the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Lots of coverage out there, though I'm particularly enamored with this piece about how local firms -- including Orbital Engineering and PNC Bank -- feature into the scandal. One amusing tidbit is that one local exec "testified that he gave architectural work to a firm started by Brimmeier's sister, Jan Brimmeier, after she was fired by another company that had a contract with Pintar's firm. Pintar, who could not be reached, said turnpike Chief Operating Officer George Hatalowich recommended the boss' sister." This would presumably be the same Jan Brimmeier who claimed not to know that her own firm was also bidding on a Port Authority contract during the time her brother was on its board.

There's apparently no longer any room for Doubt in city cops' narcotics division. Commander Cheryl Doubt, who headed up that division until yesterday, was transferred to the records department in the wake of her criticizing acting police chief Regina McDonald in the Post-Gazette. Meanwhile, City Council is delaying action on proposed legislation dealing with off-duty security assignments for officers.

Once again, the 911th Airlift Wing will remain in operation, ensuring continued employment here for 2,000 folks ... and ensuring a steady stream of press releases for US Rep. Tim Murphy the next time it's threatened with closure.

Apparently, you can still earn a state pension even if you, like, run over somebody with a stolen car and then shoot them. While lawmakers and other state employees can lose their pensions for crimes involving their official capacity, your run-of-the-mill murders and such don't trigger such sanctions. But rest assured, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is on the case.

And just to help set your weekend calendar ... some 200,000 people are expected to participate in Saturday's St. Patrick's Day parade ... though my guess is that the actual number is 100,000, and everyone is seeing double. If that's not enough bacchanalia for you, don't forget that there's a mayoral debate scheduled in East Liberty. Originally it was going to feature Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City Councilor Bill Peduto, and City Controller Michael Lamb. I have no idea who all is coming now.

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