I would like to commend the three courageous members of the Port Authority of Allegheny County board who did not capitulate to the ruthless efforts of Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in pressuring the board to fire Steve Bland as CEO.
I do not know Mr. Bland and I have no involvement of any kind (not even as a rider) with Port Authority. However, as a resident of Allegheny County, I have followed the various problems that the agency has had to deal with over the years.
Fitzgerald's policy of appointing individuals to county boards who promise to do whatever he wishes is unethical, immoral and illegal. It is most regrettable that so many seemingly intelligent, decent people are willing to go along with such a vindictive megalomaniacal policy in order to be appointed to (or remain a member of) a county board.
Pusillanimity is a sad and shameful form of behavior for any would-be community leader in the pursuit and performance of official governmental matters. When such obsequious, passive conduct results in an action that causes substantial harm to a victim of a political tyrant, then public exposure and condemnation are required.
The board members who voted against the motion to remove Mr. Bland can always be proud of the fact that they stood tall and did not bow to pressure from Fitzgerald, unlike their colleagues who voted to dismiss him not because of any legitimate, substantive policy disagreement, but simply because they were ordered to do so by a paranoid, power-hungry, intellectually limited county executive.
Cyril H. Wecht
The writer is a former Allegheny County coroner.