Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Monday made extensive changes to the decision-making bodies with responsibility over everything from the city’s stadiums to its sewers and parking.
He filled spots on 11 boards, authorities and commissions with a mix of business, community and elected leaders recommended by Talent City, an effort of Pittsburgh’s foundation community to recruit and screen job applicants.
But many of the appointees’ names are familiar in political circles — three council members, Peduto’s chief administration officer and former Assistant Finance Director Cathy Qureshi, who served under former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Peduto.
“Assuming they’re all competent people, it assures (Peduto) that they’re going to get the job done and nobody’s going to be in a position where they can negatively influence what happens in his administration,” said Gerald Shuster, professor of political communication at the University of Pittsburgh.
Peduto on Jan. 15 requested the resignation of all city-appointed board, authority and commission members who served during the Ravenstahl administration as part of his promise to overhaul government.
But the time it took to recruit candidates for the open seats halted the public’s business in some cases.
The Pittsburgh Parking Authority was unable to meet because all of its directors resigned. Boards of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, Housing Authority, Allegheny Regional Asset District and city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority did not meet in February.
“I thought that he might have had opportunities to put those people together a bit earlier than he did,” Shuster said.
Fifty-five percent of the appointees are women and about one-quarter are black, the administration said.
Lena Andrews, 35, of Friendship, who was appointed to the Housing Authority’s board, said her background will be an asset to the board.
She is a planning and development specialist for Action Housing Inc., a Downtown nonprofit that provides housing to the needy.
“I think all Pittsburghers deserve access to high-quality housing, and I’m excited to work on that with the Housing Authority,” she said.
Councilman Corey O’Connor
Allegheny Regional Asset District
John Paul Jones
Peter Robert Kaplan
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority
Councilwoman Deborah Gross
Sports and Exhibition Authority
Councilman Dan Gilman
Reverend John Welch
Urban Redevelopment Authority
Rep. Ed Gainey
Cheryl Hall Russell
Zoning Board of Adjustment
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Mayor Bill Peduto
State Rep. Erin Molchany