Pittsburgh council moves to cut up mayor's credit card
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl would have to seek reimbursement, or get approval in advance, for payment of business expenses under legislation City Council introduced on Tuesday.
Council wants to eliminate the $10,000 “imprest fund,” which Ravenstahl taps with a credit card when he travels or makes purchases while on business and force the mayor to follow the expense rules for other city employees. The legislation sponsored by Corey O'Connor would eliminate the fund created in 1995 for then-Mayor Tom Murphy.
O'Connor said mismanagement of police revenue, including $70,000 that a grand jury says former Chief Nate Harper diverted into secret accounts at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union, prompted his bill.
“This just gives us checks and balances,” O'Connor said. “Why take the chance of having other funds out there?”
Critics have said Ravenstahl's use of the credit card lacks public oversight even though the controller's office audits his expenses. Controller Michael Lamb called for its elimination, describing it as a “visage of the past.” Council members agreed.
“I think that credit card should be torn into shreds,” said Councilman Bill Peduto, who is running for mayor. “I don't think any public official or employee should have a line of credit that they can use without scrutiny.”
Mayoral spokeswoman Marissa Doyle said Ravenstahl wants to see the legislation.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said the bill should include guidelines for about $10,000 in discretionary money given annually to each council member. They use the money for expenses ranging from coffee in their offices to funding for community projects.
“I think it's worth having a conversation about,” she said.
Separately, council introduced a bill to spend up to $110,000 on software and equipment that would permit police officers to file daily activity reports by computer. Councilman Ricky Burgess said it would save time and make the police bureau more transparent. Officers fill out the reports by hand.
Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Lovejoy says individual play is problematic
- Greensburg high school roundup: No. 4 Hempfield baseball routs Norwin
- Mars’ Rinaman sprints to 2 gold medals at host invitational
- Western Pa. May markets, plant sellers ready to spring into action
- Magma chamber spied under Yellowstone volcano
- Armenia commemorates massacre
- Lexus sport coupe has youthful appeal, power
- Kings Family Restaurants sold to California firm
- NFL Draft preview: Safety crop offers no sure-fire stars
- First Amendment experts decry Plum authorities’ warning to students
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen unfazed by return to Arizona