Archive for the ‘Implementing Professional Management Systems’ Category

Act 47: Unfinished Business

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Yesterday Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and his allies in the state legislature and on City Council lobbied representatives of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development to remove Pittsburgh from Act 47 financial oversight.

While Pittsburgh has certainly made progress since 2003, when out of control spending and shrinking revenues nearly bankrupted the City, the plan that was put in place to create a new model of fiscal sustainability is far from complete.

Councilman Bill Peduto was the sole elected official to speak out at yesterday’s hearing for maintaining oversight until we are truly out of the woods. There are still too many serious fiscal issues left unaddressed to stop now – from pension reform to the City’s relationship with its large nonprofit institutions.

To download the presentation Councilman Peduto gave at yesterday’s hearing, click here.

Posted in Implementing Professional Management Systems, Opening Government's Books | No Comments »

Pushing for Pension Reforms

Monday, August 6th, 2012

A new coalition of Pennsylvania chambers of commerce and local government associations has formed to lobby Harrisburg for much-needed pension reform to take the pressure off of this state’s largest cities and older core communities. The Coalition for Sustainable Communities has grown out of the work of organizations like the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities (now called the Pennsylvania Municipal League) and their Core Communities in Crisis Task Force (of which I am a member) and other efforts around the state. Without comprehensive pension reform at the state level, many cities are looking at the very real possibility of being forced to cut services and increase taxes — an outcome that no one wants to see. But with this new partner in the fight, the prospects of real reform just got a lot brighter.

Posted in Implementing Professional Management Systems, Reforming the Investment of Public Dollars | No Comments »

ICA and Act 47 Oversight Boards Weigh in on City’s Finances

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Each year, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) and Act 47 Coordinator — the City’s two oversight bodies — provide us with a progress report of how far we have come in meeting the goals of the Act 47 Recovery Plan adopted by Council in 2009. Both boards share Controller Lamb’s view that, while we have made progress, our work is not yet done. Council has taken several steps to get us to our eventual goal of achieving financial sustainability and the ability to leave oversight, including passing a Debt Management Policy, partnering with Allegheny County to upgrade our financial planning software, and requiring more detailed explanations of how the City’s Capital Budget is put to use. However, just passing the legislation isn’t enough. We have to ensure that it is properly implemented by the administration and the departments charged with overseeing it — and that work is ongoing. To read more about the views of the ICA, you can download their report here.

Posted in Implementing Professional Management Systems, Opening Government's Books | No Comments »

Pittsburgh Fights for Equal Pay

Friday, April 27th, 2012

posted by Marisa Pereira Tully

April 17, 2012 marked the day to which a woman had to work in order to equal a man’s earnings for 2011. Equal Pay Day, as it’s called, brings attention to the enduring disparity between men’s and women’s wages in our country. Following decades of advancements in opportunities and increasing prominence of women in the media, it can be forgotten that large inequalities still very much exist. On average a woman is paid 77.4% of what a man earns. Over a lifetime, lost wages can total in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. If the gap continues to close at its current rate, women’s earnings will not reach men’s until the year 2075.

Here in Pittsburgh two groups, the Council of the City of Pittsburgh and a team from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, recently took up the challenge to combat this inequality.

On Equal Pay Day, Councilmembers Bill Peduto and Natalia Rudiak sponsored a resolution authorizing an audit of compensation, hiring, and advancement practices for City employees with the express purpose of identifying any discrimination. Such an act not only serves to expose any unfair treatment, it also signals the commitment of our City government for wage equality. The resolution comes in response to a 2009 audit commissioned by former Councilmember Doug Shields which found clear examples of wage discrimination, political decision-making, and barriers to advancement in the City workforce. Councilmembers Peduto and Rudiak hope to learn whether the City has made progress in correcting these disparities and what work still needs to be done.

Over at CMU, a group of graduate students and professors teamed up to compete in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Equal Pay App Challenge. The Challenge asked competitors to increase awareness of the issue, make data more accessible, and provide tools for users to combat the wage gap in their own lives. Under the leadership of Professor Linda Babcock, noted gender and negotiation expert, the team (of which this author was a part) created a website that combined a personalized salary calculator with tips and training in negotiation. The website won the Grand Prize as well as the Excellence in Non-Profit Award. To check out the Heinz submission and get your own personalized salary comparison, go to

Posted in Hiring Based on Merit, Implementing Professional Management Systems, Opening Government's Books, Strengthening the Ethics Code, Uncategorized | No Comments »