Surveillance cameras stop working after Pittsburgh fails to pay bill
Former and current Pittsburgh officials are pointing fingers over who is to blame for a financial oversight that left nearly 18 percent of 153 security cameras protecting city waterways out of commission.
City Council members said the Ravenstahl administration failed to pay Avrio RMS Group $194,791 for camera maintenance. But former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who left office in December, said he had no direct oversight of a maintenance agreement.
“Ask (Finance Director Scott) Kunka or (Public Safety Director Michael) Huss,” Ravenstahl wrote in a text message. “Not only are they still there, but it would have been under their direction.”
Neither Kunka nor Huss returned messages seeking comment. Avrio, which has offices in Washington and Chicago, could not be reached.
Sonya Toler, spokeswoman for the public safety department, said the cameras were obtained through a federal grant in 2009 and are designed to monitor the three rivers. Twenty-seven cameras are not functioning, she said.
The city is responsible for maintenance but hasn't paid the bill since 2012, Toler said.
“The fact that some of them are down is not negatively impacting our delivery of public safety services,” she said.
Council on Wednesday moved to pay the bill and will take a final vote next week.
Toler blamed “a small part” of the delay on Mayor Bill Peduto's request that the Ravenstahl administration refrain from large expenses until Peduto was in office. She said Peduto began addressing outstanding contracts about two weeks after his Jan. 6 inauguration.
Several council members laid blame on Ravenstahl.
“The prior administration allowed bills to sit on their desk for months,” said Councilman Dan Gilman, who worked as Peduto's chief of staff when the mayor was a councilman.
Toler said the city has other cameras that overlap areas covered by those in question. She could not provide a total number, but said city cameras and those operated by businesses provide enough coverage for public safety activities.
Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. 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.
- Winter weather advisory for Western Pa. in effect until Monday afternoon
- Defensive lineman commits to PSU during campus visit
- Crosby, Malkin dazzle fellow All-Stars
- Starkey: Rinaldo doesn’t belong in NHL
- Woman killed in Washington Township crash
- Increasing pressure on QBs will be offseason focus for Steelers
- Paying cost of attendance worries Power 5 schools large and small
- ‘I almost left here’ says Highland Park woman who contracted flesh-eating bacteria
- Classes increasingly blend in technology in Western Pa. schools
- Long-term solution for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
- Lure of tuition aid, gifts draw college students to ‘sugar daddy’ sites