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Members of mayor's circle looking to leave

| Thursday, May 16, 2013, 9:08 p.m.

A second member of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's lame-duck administration announced Thursday that he and others are looking to exit.

One government observer said that's typical near the end of a political regime, especially one in distress.

Government Affairs Manager Paul McKrell announced via Facebook that he will interview for a job in Ireland.

“It's been the singular joy of my life to serve the people of Pittsburgh in Mayor Ravenstahl's office, but like everyone else in the administration I'm looking at new opportunities,” McKrell said in an email. “I've even applied for (a) job in Ireland, although I'd prefer to stay in the city I love.”

Press Secretary Joanna Doven announced her resignation Wednesday after seven years in the mayor's office. Two of Ravenstahl's top staff members, Public Safety Director Michael Huss and chief of staff Yarone Zober, could not be reached to comment on their intentions.

Ravenstahl, 33, of Summer Hill said on March 1 that he would not seek re-election. City Councilman Bill Peduto and former state Auditor General Jack Wagner, the top Democratic contenders to replace Ravenstahl, have promised widespread changes in top personnel if elected.

Joseph DiSarro, who chairs the Department of Political Science at Washington & Jefferson College, said Ravenstahl's people would be smart to get out early.

“The more problematic the administration is, the more likely you'll have subordinates leave early, especially under these circumstances,” he said. “I'm surprised, frankly, they waited this long.”

DiSarro was referring to a federal investigation that has plagued the administration since February and has spread from scrutiny of a city contract for police radios, to police department spending and to Ravenstahl himself.

DiSarro said lame-duck personnel typically start leaving six months before the end of a term.

“They are going to try to trade what experience they have as well as whatever influence they may still have,” he said. “You want to leave on your own terms. If you wait till the end of the term, you're going to be terminated.

“You don't want to be fired.”

Ravenstahl spokeswoman Marissa Doyle, who will be the next press secretary, said she has no plans to leave.

“This is very typical of the end of an administration — whether it be presidential, gubernatorial, mayoral or otherwise — that people are going to be looking for new opportunities,” she said. “In the meantime, there's still work to be done, and that's what we're going to be focusing on in the next few months.”

Public Works Director Rob Kaczorowski and Director of Operations Duane Ashley, both of whom have worked more than 30 years for the city, said they have no plans to leave early. Both offered to help the new administration with its transition. Ashley, 60, of Overbrook announced this year that he will retire in December.

“I'm not running out anywhere,” he said. “I've spent my life delivering services to the residents of this city.”

Kaczorowski, 55, of Crafton Heights said he's been talking with his wife about what he might do. He said it could include applying for his job under the new administration. “I'll make a decision later in the year.”

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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