ShareThis Page
News

URA, economic development department merger considered

| Saturday, May 29, 2004, 12:00 p.m.

A day after Mulugetta Birru announced his resignation as executive director of the city Urban Redevelopment Authority, Mayor Tom Murphy and county Chief Executive Dan Onorato said they'll explore merging the URA and the county Economic Development Department.

The agencies were partly joined until Onorato's predecessor, Jim Roddey, cut the ties because he didn't want Birru serving the county part-time.

"It probably makes some sense, but there's a lot to work through," said Dennis Davin, director of the county Economic Development Department. "There's so much that's different, but in the end there's a lot that is the same, too."

Issues will be whether the city and county can reduce a combined staff, how to deal with each agency's revenue and resolving differences in pay and benefits. City and county officials started broad talks about a merger after Onorato took office in January, Davin said.

The city and county agencies were never fully merged. But from 1997 to 2000, Birru split his time as director of both groups. When Roddey became the county's first chief executive, he dumped Birru.

Birru will be involved in the merger talks until the end of July, when he leaves for his new job as executive director of the Wayne County Economic Development Corp. in Detroit.

"I believe that we can achieve a joint arrangement that will enable us to better market our area to outside companies and developers, and that will allow us to take better advantage of the natural strengths of Pittsburgh," Murphy said in a statement he and Onorato released Friday.

Onorato said a merger would "create a one-stop shop" for businesses.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me