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Another board member leaving

| Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

A second member of Pittsburgh's state-appointed oversight board announced Tuesday that he's stepping down now that the city has won approval for new and higher taxes.

James L. Smith III, an investment banker who once was signed by the Steelers, resigned from the state Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, effective immediately. Smith said he always had intended to remain on the board only until the city's immediate financial crisis had been resolved.

"This was a good break in the action," said Smith, of Upper St. Clair, who served as the oversight board's first chairman.

House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese, D-Greene County, appointed Smith to the board in February 2004. State lawmakers created the panel that month to study the city's finances, recommend changes and ensure the city stays within an approved budget.

Board support for the city's five-year budget plan was an essential part of state lawmakers approving a tax package for Pittsburgh last year.

DeWeese has committed to finding a minority candidate to fill the slot, said Smith, who is the managing director for Global Markets and Investment Banking at Merrill Lynch.

The oversight board has been criticized by some for having white males in each of its five seats.

Former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey has said he also will step down from the board later this year.

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