ShareThis Page
News

Allegheny County Council declines to meet in suburbs

| Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2001

PITTSBURGH: Allegheny County Councilman Tom Shumaker, R-Pine, lost his bid Tuesday night to move some council meetings into the suburbs.

Shumaker, who made a similar failed proposal last year, said he wanted to give suburban residents more access to their county government.

'I do think it would be a good idea to have some council meetings outside Grant Street,' he said.

The proposal failed by a 8-5 vote.

Shumaker, whose suburban district includes a portion of the Valley, asked that two to five meetings each year be moved to suburban locations. Usually, council meets twice each month in the Gold Room of the Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh.

At-large Councilman Dave Fawcett, R-Oakmont, agreed.

'I think it would raise the profile of the government as well as improve accessibility for the public,' Fawcett said.

Other council members, however, said making the meetings mobile would be too difficult.

'The logistics of transporting all of our support, staff and services is too complicated,' Councilman Rich Fitzgerald, D-Squirrel Hill, said. 'I think we need to revisit televising our meetings so people can see what is going on instead.'

Other council members also said they thought the job of taking county government out among the people best fell to County Executive Jim Roddey because one man can move more easily than a 15-member council.

And many council members said they thought the executive did a good job of visiting the suburbs.

Council members also seemed to agree that the five-member council committees should schedule more meetings outside of the courthouse.

The parks committee, for example, has plans to meet in each of the county parks, they said. This is a more workable way to move some council functions away from downtown, they said.

Councilwoman Eileen Klein, D-Scott, said she opposed moving regular council meetings for safety reasons. On winter nights, she said, she didn't want to require council members and staff to drive on snow-covered roads to distant meeting sites.

'I think there is a lot to be said for the courthouse being a suburban location,' Wagner said.

Shumaker pushed the council to consider his plan and vote Tuesday night because he said the similar proposal he made a year ago died in committee.

'I think the people of Allegheny County would like to see their government,' Shumaker said.

Wynne Everett can be reached at weverett@tribweb.com .

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