In December of last year when the acrimony between the City of Pittsburgh and the oversight board was quite high, we recommended that the officials charged with making appointments to the board–there were three vacancies at the time, all to be filled by the Governor and the minority leaders of the Senate and House, all of the same political affiliation as the Mayor of Pittsburgh–should make them and change the tenor of the board. We wrote:
What can be the motivation of these three officials for not finding appointees for the ICA vacancies who would be sympathetic to the City? They could vote together to advance ICA business, even if it occurred on a series of 3 to 2 party line votes. A 3 to 2 partisan vote would release gaming money the City receives from hosting the Rivers Casino (a critical issue in the current dispute), approve operating budgets, and make City-overseer relations much more amicable. So what is the objection to going this route in light of what has played out over most of 2015? (italics added).
Four months later, consider some of the quotes from City officials on the reconstituted board that has new appointees and has reorganized:
The City Controller–“I think the ICA board has been looking to have a more positive relationship with the city, and the best way to have a positive relationship is with a change in leadership”.
The City Finance Director–“I think now we have an opportunity to have a board that works with us and not against us”.
And the Mayor–“I expect that all the new appointees who have the ability now to control this board, there will be a very strong interest in working with the Act 47 coordinators, the (city) controller, City Council and our office.”