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The resignation letters: Fitz sees the light?

| Friday, April 5, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

It's good that Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald has abandoned his practice of demanding signed, undated resignation letters from appointees to county boards and authorities for use should those appointees not toe the ACE's line. But credit for this positive development goes to public and Allegheny County Council pressure that forced his hand — not to Mr. Fitzgerald.

He had to be pushed to correct this glaringly, grievously erroneous and autocratic practice, which made a mockery of the supposed independence of those county boards and authorities. Fitzgerald says he decided to change his ways after speaking with several council members — but in all likelihood, he did so only grudgingly.

Councilman John DeFazio, D-Shaler, says the letters issue was becoming a distraction for council's Appointment Review Committee. Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh, R-Mt. Lebanon, no doubt focused Democrat Fitz's thinking by criticizing the letters as illegal.

And the letters were something the county “could do without,” according to Charles Martoni, D-Swissvale, council president.

Fitzgerald says he'll destroy the resignation letters he has and won't require them from future appointees. That will blunt his my-way-or-the-highway approach to governance but won't end it, so the public, council members and sitting appointees can't rest easy.

The only way they could is if they had an undated resignation letter signed by Fitzgerald — which would be fit comeuppance indeed for him.

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