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Friday, June 25, 2010

Mayor finally keeps an appointment

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 4:53 PM

I've received confirmation that today, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl submitted to council the names of nearly two dozen people he is nominating to various boards and commissions.  So now we all have something to look forward to next week. 

The city clerk's office is not yet releasing the names of the appointees, or the positions they have been selected for. That information, I'm told, is not public record until formally presented at council's regular session next Tuesday. But the office did confirm that 23 nominations have been sent over for council approval, and you can find plenty of likely posts by clicking around the list of boards and commissions, looking for expired terms. (Note: Some of the online information about these appointments may be more outdated than the appointments themselves.) Can it be, for example,  that it is finally time to replace Sergei Matveiev -- who left his city post last year -- on the Historic Review Commission? (Answer: No, it can't. But it's too boring to explain why. Let's just move along.)

It's been common practice to leave some seats vacant -- or filled by members on expired terms -- for years. So why the rush now? Well, the move comes as the city's slip-shod appointment process has become a flashpoint of controversy. In addition to City Paper's constant whining about it, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette issued an editorial today faulting the process used to name new members of the city's police review board. 

What's more, on Tuesday city councilor Bill Peduto fired off a letter to city solicitor Dan Regan regarding the review-board appointment controversy. The letter raises some arguments I noted last week -- namely that replacing a board member with an expired term is not the same as filling a vacancy.

Writes Peduto, "[T]his Administration has repeatedly stated that appointees may continue to serve after a term expires and the seat should not be considered vacant. Why in this case is the Administration following the Code for filling a vacancy?"

With luck, today's events mean the mayor is trying to get out ahead of these problems in the future. I mean, there actually are things I'd rather write about ... though at this point, I wouldn't blame you if you find that hard to believe. 

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