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City finance director fired in 2006 is Peduto's pick for same job

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Friday, April 25, 2014, 3:03 p.m.
 

Former government officials hailed Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's pick for finance director as one of the region's top government finance experts.

Peduto on Friday announced the nomination of Paul Leger, 69, of the North Side for a position open since last month when Finance Director Scott Kunka retired.

“I used to jokingly call him the county answer man, because any question I had, he had an answer for,” said former Allegheny County Commissioner Bob Cranmer. “He's very, very attuned to government operations. You can't do better.”

Leger, who lives in the Mexican War Streets, has 40 years of public service, including a stint as finance director under former Mayor Bob O'Connor. He has experience in municipal, county and nonprofit executive management, public finance and budgeting, workforce development and leadership development and training.

Leger could not be reached.

Among other things, he helped write the county's Home Rule Charter and steer PGH 21, a task force that studied Pittsburgh's financial dilemma when the city faced bankruptcy early in the last decade.

“I am thrilled Paul is bringing his unrivaled talents back to Pittsburgh,” Peduto said in a prepared statement. “He is perfectly positioned to assist my efforts to restructure the Department of Finance and to help implement the city's new approach to an Act 47 plan that will guide us into financial health for decades.”

The city has been under state oversight, through Act 47, because of its weak financial condition, including underfunded pensions.

O'Connor fired Leger in 2006 in a shakeup at City Hall in which two other top aides departed. Kunka replaced Leger.

Among other positions, Leger was: senior vice president for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development; president and associate director for Coro Center for Civic Leadership; and acting managing director and senior project manager for the Pennsylvania Economy League.

“He's one of the most competent financial men in the region,” said former City Councilman Sala Udin of the Hill District.

Leger is a graduate of Central Catholic High School and Duquesne University, where he earned bachelor's degrees in English and history.

His nomination is subject to City Council confirmation. His annual salary would be $100,889.

“He's a bipartisan guy. He just tries to do the right thing,” said former county Commissioner Mike Dawida. “He helped us save the county when we were in great distress.”

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

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