PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The county courthouse was closed for the New Year’s holiday, but several hundred elected officials and supporters of State Rep. Chelsa Wagner jammed the Grand Staircase inside.
It was the swearing-in of Allegheny County’s first female county controller.
Accompanied by her husband, Khari Mosley, and her son, Thaddeus, Wagner took the oath six months pregnant.
Wagner follows the footsteps of Mark Patrick Flaherty, Dan Onorato, and Frank Lucchino in an office that has often been the stepping stone to higher office.
Joined by her Uncle Jack, Pennsylvania’s auditor general, and her Aunt Eileen, a former county Register of Wills, Chelsa, says her aunt, was always a first.
“Chelsa was the first girl in the Wagner family after two generations,” Eileen told the crowd.
Her aunt said a book about Chelsa would be entitled, “Determined,” to which Chelsa’s husband added, “I do not know a person more determined than Chelsa Wagner. I know that in a whole lot of ways.”
The crowd laughed.
Wagner says she’ll be an independent fiscal watchdog of all parts of county government and that includes the county’s reassessment.
“We’ll be looking really immediately to make some different recommendations,” Wagner told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.
“Many people are asking me right now on how they appeal. One of the ideas I put forth in the campaign was having something similar to a public defender — to know that anyone coming in for an appeal has access to counsel.”
Wagner says taxpayers should not have to shell out money for lawyers to appeal assessments that were not done right in the first place.
How critical Wagner will be of the new county executive, Rich Fitzgerald, remains to be seen.
She says her first approach in auditing county agencies will be to work with Fitzgerald and those in charge.
But it’s clear that she’s not someone who intends to be ignored.