The Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority for Cities of the Second Class-commonly known as the ICA and more commonly as the oversight board-was created in 2004 to help prevent a fiscal calamity in Pittsburgh. The statute creating the board (Act 11) states that “the inability of a city of the second class to provide essential services to its citizens as a result of a fiscal emergency is hereby determined to affect adversely the health, safety, and welfare not only of the citizens of that municipality but also of other citizens in this Commonwealth”.
A previous blog entry pointed out the eerie similarities between the cities of Pittsburgh and Harrisburg and their recent struggles with looming legacy cost bills and how the parking authorities in each city were key components in working toward solutions on those costs.
Under the state’s Parking Authority law, board members are appointed by the chief executive and serve at the pleasure of the chief executive. They can be removed by the chief executive at any time.
So when Pittsburgh’s Parking Authority voted 3-2 to oppose a study of an alternative to the recently defeated long-term lease of parking assets, the Mayor appeared at that hearing and stated "I thought it was important for me to let you know personally my position" in opposing the alternative. A Council member who was in support of the alternative stated "the mayor showed up at a public meeting, and he told board members to their faces, ‘I do not support this.’"
In the state’s capital city the Mayor there forced three members off of the Authority board and replaced them with three others when the details of an alternative plan to help the City through a financial tough spot garnered attention before being vetted by the Mayor. The Mayor’s spokesman noted "The mayor feels that its board has an obligation to communicate with the administration about these important matters and wanted to ensure a board that understood the importance of that communication". The City’s financial condition is currently being heard by DCED, who will make a determination as to whether Act 47 distressed status will be granted to Harrisburg.