Heyl: Going back and forth on Jeepgate
Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of “Point-Counterpoint.”
Our players today are Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and county Controller Chelsa Wagner. The topic: county-owned vehicles. On the basis of her Rock-Paper-Scissors victory over the executive, Wagner will go first.
Wagner: “County vehicles should not be used for personal or political purposes, but guess what? My office has identified more than 100 instances of the county executive doing just that in his county-owned SUV.”
Fitzgerald: “The controller’s allegations are mostly true, but no one should take them too seriously. She is, to use an endearingly Pittsburgh insult and a word that Mayor Bill Peduto is attempting to get into the dictionary, a jagoff.”
Wagner: “My office isn’t authorized to investigate whether ‘jagoff’ should be in the dictionary. But I have determined that these personal and political excursions by the county executive have cost taxpayers more than $13,000. That money should be repaid.”
Fitzgerald: “I’ve made some of my most important policy decisions at political events, sometimes when I’m eating a hot dog or drinking a Diet Pepsi. I seem to do some of my best thinking at those things. What’s the big deal?”
Wagner: “It’s a big enough deal that I thought it proper to notify the District Attorney’s Office, the state ethics commission, the state Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office the Postmaster General’s Office, the United Nations and the Vatican.”
Fitzgerald: “I’m sure Pope Francis would find the controller’s motivations for launching this investigation fascinating. The controller is still sore at me because I kicked her out of my posh Pennsylvania Society Christmas party last year, which oddly enough was held in New York City.”
Wagner: “My office isn’t authorized to audit the activities of an organization that’s named after Pennsylvania but whose annual signature event occurs in a different state. Nor is my office authorized to audit the invitations to the signature event’s many parties. But I was authorized to review Fitzgerald’s own campaign Twitter account, which provided details as to his political activities, and compare that to his vehicle logs.”
Fitzgerald: “It’s not like I’m being chauffeured around in a stretch limo, for crying out loud. It’s a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee with more than 150,000 miles. The controller’s just playing politics here.”
Wagner: “My office isn’t authorized to investigate my motivations, although if it were, it might find that I haven’t enjoyed the county executive in the past labeling me incompetent and calling me an obstructionist.”
Fitzgerald: “Is the controller’s office authorized to note that I also frequently accuse her of failing to show up for work?”
Wagner: “My office is authorized to note I made it to the office for the news conference to release these findings.”
Eric Heyl is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412- 320-7857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.