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Allegheny County councilman's job as senator's staffer raises brows

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Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Allegheny County Council members had a mix of opinions Wednesday about whether Councilman Bob Macey's job in state Sen. Jim Brewster's office violates the county's ethics rules.

“According to the rules, I think he may have to make a decision” regarding whether to remain on council or continue working for Brewster, said Vice President Nick Futules, D-Oakmont.

Macey, 65, a Democrat from West Mifflin, started as a constituent services representative in Brewster's McKeesport office Oct. 29. County ethics rules prohibit a council member from working as the personal staff of an elected official.

Macey said Jack Cambest, the council's solicitor, cleared him to take the job during a meeting the two had before Macey accepted the position.

Council President John DeFazio, D-Shaler, said he did not have a problem with Macey's employment because Cambest ruled it did not violate the ethics rules.

Councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott, said he does not understand how Macey's employment could create a conflict of interest. He wants Macey to remain on council. Macey's council district overlaps with Brewster's senatorial district.

“He's a good council member, and he represents his people well,” Finnerty said.

Macey said he has support from several members of council and will continue to serve. Some members “on both sides of the aisle” have suggested changing the ethics rules to allow Macey to continue working in Brewster's office, Macey said. He would not identify which members suggested changing the rules.

Barbara Daly Danko, D-Regent Square, said council cannot choose which rules to follow.

“To me the language is very clear, and Macey has to make a choice,” Danko said. “And if he doesn't make the choice, I would not be surprised if someone from the public files an ethics complaint.”

Two council committees – Budget and Finance and Economic Development – met Wednesday. Macey, a member of both, attend the Economic Development meeting but left early to attend a supervisory committee meeting of the City Co Federal Credit Union, he said.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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