Share This Page

Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto restarting his search for public safety director

| Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 11:21 a.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Mayor Bill Peduto leaves One Oxford Center bundled in his gloves and coat after speaking to Pittsburgh Promise scholars during one of the organization's career training days at The Rivers Club in Downtown on his first full day in office on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. With temperatures dipping below zero, the mayor's first day included many hours of responding to cold-weather problems.
Submitted
Mike Gable, 59, Pittsburgh's new public works director, has 40 years of experience in the field.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has said hiring a public safety director is a top priority, but he is again hunting for good candidates.

Peduto on Tuesday announced that he is seeking more applicants to lead the police and fire bureaus through Talent City, a recruiting website sponsored by Pittsburgh's foundation community. The site is designed to recruit candidates from across the nation.

Separately, the mayor announced the hiring of a familiar face as public works director. Mike Gable retired in March as the department's deputy director. His salary will be $100,889.

“Mike Gable is a consummate professional, an experienced worker who came up through the ranks, and he will be an effective and capable leader for our Public Works Department,” Peduto said in a prepared statement. Gable could not be reached for comment.

Peduto said acting Public Safety Director Mike Huss will continue in his post and remains a finalist for the permanent job. Huss did not return a call. The city's 2014 budget sets the job's salary at $105,000.

The mayor has said he planned to hire a public safety director before other top administrators, but John Ellis, vice president of communications for the Pittsburgh Foundation, which is coordinating the Talent City effort, said the search would take some time.

“The plan was we would submit between three and five candidates for each position for the mayor to consider,” Ellis said. “If he wanted more candidates, then he would come back to us, which he's done.”

Ellis said 101 people responded to the first appeal, and Talent City sent six of them to Peduto for consideration.

Peduto said he was considering three finalists. Two, including Huss, were from Pennsylvania, and one was from Virginia. He said he wanted someone with federal law enforcement experience and an “Eliot Ness” reputation. Ness was the legendary Prohibition-era federal law enforcement agent.

Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin admitted it would be hard attracting someone of that caliber with a federal investigation of the police department ongoing.

Federal authorities charged former police Chief Nate Harper last year with siphoning money from department accounts and income tax evasion. He pleaded guilty and has a sentencing date in February. Federal authorities say the investigation is continuing.

The public safety director also oversees emergency management, building inspection and animal control.

Gable, 59, of Morningside replaces Rob Kaczorowski, who will wrap up his 34-year city career at week's end. Kaczorowski, 55, of Crafton Heights said he'll be job hunting in the coming weeks.

“I have some municipalities that have contacted me,” he said.

Gable started working for the city in 1974 as a laborer in the parks and recreation department. He transferred to public works in 1993. He retired in March as deputy public works director to become director of operations/administration with the Allegheny County Public Works Department, a job that paid $89,301.

Under his new job, he will no longer be permitted to collect a city pension, according to Peduto spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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.