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Transition team turns in recommendations for Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Peduto's administration

| Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, 11:53 p.m.
Dr. Curtiss Porter, who will serve as chief education and neighborhood reinvestment officer under Mayor-elect Bill Peduto, discusses recommendations on education during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in David Lawrence Hall in Oakland.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dr. Curtiss Porter, who will serve as chief education and neighborhood reinvestment officer under Mayor-elect Bill Peduto, discusses recommendations on education during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in David Lawrence Hall in Oakland.
Mayor-elect Bill Peduto listens to recommendations on education, transportation, public safety and other priorities during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in David Lawrence Hall in Oakland.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Mayor-elect Bill Peduto listens to recommendations on education, transportation, public safety and other priorities during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in David Lawrence Hall in Oakland.
Members of the office of Mayor-elect Bill Peduto speak during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in David Lawrence Hall in Oakland.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Members of the office of Mayor-elect Bill Peduto speak during a public meeting on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in David Lawrence Hall in Oakland.

The foundation of Mayor-elect Bill Peduto's administration will start with 1,100 pages of recommendations from residents on how to improve city life, from parking to permitting to policing.

Capping a month of discussions, Peduto's transition team of about 900 volunteer Pittsburgh residents turned in 47 reports with recommendations, summed up at a meeting Monday night in David Lawrence Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.

Peduto said the reports will serve as a “blueprint” for his administration, which begins next week.

The recommendations span eight subject areas — from public safety to housing to city infrastructure.

“We are the administrative branch. We make sure stuff gets done,” Peduto said. “Your job is to make sure the people have a voice.”

The recommendations marked a month's worth of efforts from the volunteers. Peduto's staff began assembling the teams in November, a week after he was elected.

Each team was divided into subcommittees, meant to focus on particular areas such as economic development financing, or low-income and affordable housing.

From there, the members communicated through small-group meetings, document sharing and group emails.

Some recommendations were specific requests to establish positions or procedures, such as a landlord registry and guidelines for tax-increment financing.

Others were general aspirations, such as developing national business partners and reducing gun violence.

Potentially ambitious timelines accompanied some recommendations, such as establishing an annual report card for city parks within the first year of office, and appointing a social services coordinator within the first 100 days.

Chief of Staff Kevin Acklin said the executive team will whittle down the recommendations into a transition report published online early next year. Many ideas, he said, were in line with what they were already thinking.

“We were blown away by the response,” Acklin said.

Chief Innovation and Performance Officer Debra Lam talked about the potential to pilot open data programs, or digital inventories of information city residents can use in their neighborhoods. She touched on the goal of getting Pittsburgh to become a “tier one” sustainability city, one with improved stormwater holding capabilities.

Urban Affairs Officer Valerie McDonald-Roberts said all subcommittees on her team emphasized the need for changes stemming from the grassroots.

“It needs to come from the ground up, from the people, from the residents,” she said.

Janelle Holland-Lunney, 26, of Greenfield was a member of a subcommittee on how to address vacant lots. She said she supported Peduto during his campaign in part because it was clear he cared about the city.

Holland-Lunney said she felt transition team members were listened to, and hoped the administration will continue to tap into its newfound volunteer base.

“Pittsburghers are willing to volunteer,” she said. “This is their city.”

Before watching some of the presentations from the fifth row in the audience, Peduto thanked residents for participating and caring about Pittsburgh.

“When I saw the names of the people that were a part of this, they come from every walk of life in this city,” he said.

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at mdaniels@tribweb.com or 412-380-8511.

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