Thursday, September 13, 2007

It must have been a *Steeler* nation-wide search

So the Mayor announced the end of the long night for many of his managers today, with only two leaving and the rest no longer hovering on the brink of “acting”. The nation-wide search turned out not to need to go much further than the limits of the Steeler nation, and really not even that far.

For example, Pat Ford is shifting from Director of Economic and Community Development to the URA, and his post will stay vacant. Does this presage a merger of planning and the URA? Strangely Ford was listed as part of the Mayor’s office staff, instead of in a department (the City Planning department is run by Noor Ismail). Shows you how much I don’t know.

Several of the moves show an expansion in staff, such as making the fire chief/public safety director Michael Huss into only the public safety director. His replacement at fire is a deputy chief Darryl Jones. I know absolutely nothing about Mr. Jones, beyond what the PG says, which is that he was chief at Aliguippa, he left there in June to become a deputy chief here and he is African American, apparently the only one in this group of hires.

There is a new director of operations as well (Art Victor) and a new press secretary – Alecia Sirk, who is Pat Ford’s wife and more importantly, commented for a short while on The Burgh Report (come back, Alecia, most of us will be nice). Should I even notice that the only job with "secretary" in the title went to the only woman in the group of hires/transfers? No, I shouldn't. Still, maybe she will be able to edit some of the Mayor's press releases where others have failed; making the press releases more clear, if more boring.

The two who are leaving, Building Inspection Chief Ron Graziano and Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority Executive Director Gregory Tutsock, are not being replaced immediately. Perhaps to avoid saying anything negative about these two, Ravenstahl commented that the city had received a particularly large amount of applications for those two jobs. What a strange reason to give for firing someone: we have a lot of choices to replace you, too many for us to risk keeping you. Everyone else is staying, according to the PG in a series of qualified remarks: Raventahl “doesn't anticipate other changes in the immediate future” and says “As long as those we've retained continue to do their jobs well, they'll stay”. Of course, that includes Guy Costa and David Onorato, so maybe the city’s relationship with the county and commonwealth will improve.

By the way, apparently no EEO officer yet. As Bram pointed out, the city was ready to make a choice between two candidates two months ago, and had said they would not fill the "acting director" positions until the EEO job was filled. I imagine a bit of fluff floated by and distracted Barbara Trant, or whoever was in charge of that process. Funny little thing, I noticed on the city’s website that Barbara Trant’s name appears no where in the personnel department that I could find, even the “message from the director” section. Weird.

But perhaps most important, experience and perseverance have paid off, George Spector, 72, is no longer “acting”. If I were him, I would be thinking of sunnier climes. Or of pulling a Tony Snow and joining the private sector for more money. Which is why, no doubt, Mr. Specter is a better man than I.