Influential / Chelsa Wagner: The watchdog bites
Who: Chelsa Wagner
Residence: North Point Breeze
Occupation: Allegheny County controller
Influential because: Wagner is the county’s financial watchdog, overseeing its books, contracts and payroll. She also serves ex officio as a member of the county retirement board, investment board, jail oversight board and juvenile detention board of advisers.
Influential nemesis: County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. Wagner has clashed repeatedly with Fitzgerald, most recently accusing him of using his county-owned vehicle for personal and political purposes. Fitzgerald on Wednesday wrote the county a $42,000 check to cover the miles he put on the car since taking office in 2012.
Influential vehicle: Unlike Fitzgerald, Wagner has avoided using a county car. She owns a 2010 Toyota Prius.
Influential upbringing: Wagner was raised in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood and attended Seton-LaSalle High School.
Influential education: Wagner has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Influential experience: Wagner worked as a business analyst for a private corporation before deciding to attend law school. After obtaining her law degree, she worked as an attorney in private practice before deciding to run for public office.
Influential in Harrisburg: Wagner was elected to the state House in 2006, defeating incumbent Michael Diven. She was re-elected in 2008 and 2010 before being elected controller in 2011.
Influential controversy: Wagner drew headlines immediately after taking office by boosting her salary 35 percent, from $66,500 to $89,904. The $23,000 raise was obtained by Wagner accepting nine years of cost-of-living increases that her predecessors as controller had declined to take.
Influential family: Wagner has a husband, Khari Mosley, and two sons.
Influential bloodlines: Wagner’s father, Pete Wagner, was the longtime Democratic Committee chairman in the City of Pittsburgh’s 19th Ward before stepping down in July; her uncle, Jack Wagner, is a former Pittsburgh city councilman, state senator and state auditor general.
Influential look ahead: Wagner’s term expires next year. Former controller Mark Patrick Flaherty is expected to run against her in the Democrat primary with Fitzgerald’s backing.