Fourth time’s a charm for new Pittsburgh City Councilman Anthony Coghill |

Fourth time’s a charm for new Pittsburgh City Councilman Anthony Coghill

Bob Bauder

Anthony Coghill lost three elections before taking a seat on Pittsburgh City Council on Wednesday, and the man who beat him the first time administered his oath of office.

Council swore in Coghill and two returning members and elected Councilman Bruce Kraus for a third two-year term as council president. Councilman Dan Gilman of Squirrel Hill resigned his District 8 seat to take a job as Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff.

But the day belonged to Coghill, 50, of Beechview.

“Some people take the easy path. Some take the hard path,” Coghill said. “Mine was the hard path, 16 years in the making. I want you to know how much I appreciate it … and how honored I am to be here.”

Coghill praised former Councilman Jim Motznik of Brookline, now a district judge. Motznik, who swore in Coghill, beat him in 2001 during a special election for the District 4 council seat.

“Many, many years ago, we were political opponents,” Motznik said. “Today we are close, very good friends. Myself, my family and the residents of District 4 are oh so proud of your efforts. We’re happy that you finally made it here.”

Council members met for more than five hours Tuesday evening before they agreed on a nomination for council presidency. They elected Kraus, 63, of the South Side to a third term in a 7-1 vote.

“We wanted to get to the point where we were coming out as a unified council as much as possible,” said Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood, who hosted the meeting with Councilman Deb Gross of Highland Park.

The president, first in line to succeed the mayor, schedules meetings, sets meeting agendas and assigns members to head council committees.

“You have my deepest, deepest respect and commitment to lead with integrity, with inclusivity and with an open mind and an open heart,” Kraus said. “I make that commitment to you in public so that everybody knows where I stand and what I stand for.”

Councilwoman Darlene Harris of Spring Hill, who has battled almost continuously with Kraus over the past two years, was the lone “no” vote.

“It’s called principle,” Harris said when asked about the reason for her vote.

Smith, 59, of Westwood and Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, 41, of the Hill District, both of whom were re-elected in November, also were sworn in.

“It’s like swearing in your grandma,” said District Judge Randy Martini, who swore in Kail-Smith. “That’s what Theresa is. She’s a grandma to everybody.”

Gilman’s seat will remain empty until a special election can be held. A date for that has not been set.

Council members are paid an annual salary of $66,371.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.

Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Newly elected councilman Anthony Coghill (center) talks with Bishop David Zubik (left) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (right) before Coghill was sworn in at the City County building, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Newly elected councilman Anthony Coghill is sworn in with his wife, Lisa Orlando, by Magisterial District Judge James Motznik at the City County building, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Newly reelected councilman Robert Daniel Lavelle family watches him get sworn in by Judge Joseph Williams at the City County building, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
City Council President, Bruce Kraus gets sworn by Judge Gene Ricciardi again after being re-elected as council president at the City County building, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.