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Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances

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Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Lance: To the Baldwin-Whitehall school board. It's hiring resigning director Martin Schmotzer to a cushy five-year deal worth at least $600,000. His job, in part — supervisor of projects for the school directors — is a one-of-a-kind position in all of Pennsylvania. The job was not advertised, there was no interview process and the hiring was not on the board's agenda. It's a sweet deal for Mr. Schmotzer but a sour one for taxpayers and transparency. Featherbedding for one of its own never smelled so bad.

On the “Watch List”: The August Wilson Center. The fate of Pittsburgh's insolvent black cultural complex now is in the hands of retired U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald. She's been appointed as the Uptown facility's overseer. Her first task is to prepare a cogent business plan that will attract benefactors. That could be a tall order given the center's poor operations record. But we do wish Judge Fitzgerald every success.

Lance: To Mt. Lebanon. It continues to dither over its exploding deer population. By one estimate there are nearly 80 deer per square mile. But instead of culling the very large herd, once again rutting, it will spend nearly $12,000 for a second aerial survey in as many years and to educate residents on how to deal with deer and avoid car accidents. But as it dithers and as it employs half-measures, it increases its legal liability for refusing to address a growing public safety threat.



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