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Pittsburgh mayor's press secretary Joanna Doven resigns

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
JASMINE GOLDBAND
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and his Press Secretary Joanna Doven host 'The Inside Story with Marty Griffin' on KDKA radio Friday, March 16, 2012. (Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review)

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's press secretary on Wednesday became the first senior staff member to leave the lame-duck administration.

Joanna Doven, who has worked in the mayor's office since August 2006, cited family commitments in announcing her resignation on Wednesday. Ravenstahl did not respond to a request for comment.

Doven, 28, of Lincoln Place, who is married to Public Safety Director Michael Huss, has been on maternity leave since February and gave birth to a son in March. The couple also has a daughter.

“I certainly appreciate the opportunity that I've been given to serve the mayor and this city,” Doven said. “However, I have family commitments that are now a priority. Press secretaries usually last two years. I've accomplished everything that I can accomplish in that position.”

She declined to comment on a widening police department scandal and FBI investigation that resulted in the forced resignation and indictment of former police Chief Nate Harper. Recent investigations cast a cloud over the mayor's office.

Last week, Ravenstahl's two bodyguards and personal secretary appeared before a federal grand jury. Federal investigators are probing remodeling at Ravenstahl's Fineview house by a New Homestead contractor who has received about $2.3 million in city work since 2010.

Doven started in the mayor's office as assistant director of grants and development under late Mayor Bob O'Connor. She has been press secretary since 2007.

Marissa Doyle, who has been filling in for Doven, will replace her, according to Ravenstahl's chief of staff, Yarone Zober.

Doyle said in an email that she wishes Doven well and looks forward to assuming the new duties.

“Joanna Doven did a great job for not one, but two mayors,” Zober said. “We wish her all the best.”

Dave Kosick, public relations director for KMA Public Relations in Carnegie, said the move shouldn't be surprising, given that Doven would have been out of a job at year's end.

Ravenstahl announced March 1 that he would not seek re-election. His term ends in December.

“I would suspect that there are a lot of folks in his office who are looking around for what they're going to do in the future,” Kosick said. “I've worked with her on a number of projects, and she's always been very cooperative and very helpful.”

Doven, whose salary was $71,920, said she has several opportunities for jobs in the private sector, but she has not settled on anything. Her resignation is effective Thursday. She said she does not qualify for severance or retirement.

She said her proudest accomplishments include beginning city social-media sites, which have about 15,000 followers, and serving as lead public information officer during the 2009 G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh.

“It's going to be very hard to find a job that's as exciting as the one I'm leaving,” Doven said. “It's probably going to take a little bit of time to figure out what I'll do next. In the meantime, I have two beautiful young kids to take care of, and I will certainly be busy with that.”

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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