As the legislative session concluded, the House took action on a Senate bill that would alter the makeup of the Port Authority (PAT) board of directors. As we wrote in mid-June the original legislation would have expanded the board from nine members to eleven and spread around the appointment powers from all by the County Executive to five by state officials and six by locals, including the Mayor of Pittsburgh, the at-large members of County Council, and one by the Executive.
That proposal was amended and passed by the Senate soon after. The altered version gave the Executive four appointments, with two having to come from a list submitted by community organizations. The County Council caucus of the opposite political party would get two appointments. The at-large Council members and the Mayor lost the appointments they had under the original bill.
Then the House passed its version this week. The state would still have five appointments: one by the Governor, four from the legislative leaders of each chamber. The County Executive would have six appointees: two would be drawn from the lists of community group suggestions and those two would have to be confirmed by County Council. With the exception of the Governor’s appointee, all must be residents of Allegheny County and all must have background qualifications in budgeting, finance, mass transit, etc.
Some new wrinkles in the House version: it would take seven members to "take action on behalf of the authority" and the legislative appointees who are not of the same party as the Executive would have significant power over by-laws, the hiring of a CEO, bonds, and contracts greater than $5 million dollars. The PennDOT study on consolidation and privatization would get an additional ninety days to be completed.
With the differing versions it will take more work after the legislative recess to align the reform proposals.