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Greenfield Bridge plaque with Mayor Peduto's name is within rules, city says

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, 3:57 p.m.
A plaque on the new Greenfield Bridge bears the names of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
City of Pittsburgh
A plaque on the new Greenfield Bridge bears the names of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.
A pillar from the old Greenfield Bridge that still exists on the Schenley Park side of the new bridge bears the names of former  Mayor William A. Magee and public works officials.
City of Pittsburgh
A pillar from the old Greenfield Bridge that still exists on the Schenley Park side of the new bridge bears the names of former Mayor William A. Magee and public works officials.

A bronze plaque on the new Greenfield Bridge that bears Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's name conforms with a Peduto executive order prohibiting elected officials from putting their names on city property, the mayor's office said Tuesday.

The order included “vehicles, refuse receptacles, buildings, structures and other assets.” Peduto's name appears prominently on the plaque along with the names of Department of Public Works officials and the engineering and construction companies that built the bridge.

Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty described the plaque on the Greenfield side of the bridge as “essential identification materials,” which Peduto's order permits.

“That is what this plaque is,” McNulty said.

Peduto in 2014 targeted city-owned garbage cans displaying the name of former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, a political foe, in issuing the order. The Ravenstahl administration in 2009 purchased 252 steel trash cans at $1,000 apiece, and all were adorned with Ravenstahl's name.

Ravenstahl could not be reached for comment.

The January 2014 order required the city to erase the names of previous mayors from public property. Peduto at the time vowed that his name would not be “printed, painted or engraved” on city property. Peduto attended a climate conference Tuesday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with former Vice President Al Gore and was unavailable.

When asked about the plaque Monday, Peduto said he was unsure whether it violated his order.

The order allowed for the honorary christening of facilities such as the Bob O'Connor Golf Course at Schenley Park, named after the former mayor. Elected officials' names are also permitted on office doors, letterheads, signage, business cards and “other essential identification materials or physical assets that are necessary for the day-to-day operations of the city.”

City Council members said they weren't concerned about Peduto's name appearing on the $17 million bridge, which opened Sunday.

Corey O'Connor of Swisshelm Park, who represents Greenfield, said public works officials replicated what was printed on the old bridge, which opened in 1922. A pillar that still exists on the Schenley Park side bears the name of former Mayor William A. Magee and public works officials.

“They just took the positions that were on the old bridge and put the same positions on the new plaque,” O'Connor said.

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood noted that the city didn't name the bridge after Peduto.

“This is just an acknowledgement that he was in office at the time,” she said. “Had he changed the name of the bridge, I might have a concern, but that's not what was done.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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