PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Steve Bland is no longer the CEO of the Port Authority.
With a vote of 5-to-3, Port Authority Board members terminated Band who started with the authority in 2006.
“The most important thing we’ve got to deal with right now is getting a dedicated source of funding; and we think that from the stand point of where we need to go, we need somebody who is going to be better positioned to be able to help us,” said Jeffrey Letwin, a Port Authority Board member, said.
KDKA’s Sarah Arbogast reports:
Letwin, along with members appointed by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, voted in favor of ousting Bland. They say he just wasn’t getting the job done.
“I don’t know that there is any specific thing I can say is lacking,” said Letwin. “But I do think that in terms of relationships in Harrisburg, I don’t know what they were, but we have not been able to get to achieve what we needed to achieve.”
Board chairman, John Brooks, disagrees.
He says Bland was terminated only because of his rocky relationship with Fitzgerald.
“I like Steve,” said Brooks. “Steve is a friend. I don’t think it should have happened to him, but he’s not going to get along with the executive, and the executive wants to make a change; that’s his deal.”
Taking over until a permanent replacement is named will be Ellen McClain, the current chief financial officer with the authority.
“She is a tremendous chief financial officer,” said Letwin. “I don’t think she, to my knowledge, has any desire to be a CEO in this organization, but where finances are one of our most challenging issues, having the CFO in that position during this period makes the most sense.”
KDKA’s Marty Griffin reports:
In the meantime, Brooks says he would be surprised if Bland does not take legal action.
“The problem with Mr. Bland is he is an administrator. He is not a politician, that’s what he does best,” said Brooks. “That doesn’t work in this town, evidently.”
Political analyst Gerry Schuster, who is also a presidential rhetoric lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh, commented on the situation and said he believes that, “Fitzgerald should go outside of the community to look for someone else.”
- Listen to Schuster on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA:
Sources also say Bland has been fighting with board members for months behind the scenes – an alleged back and forth over a number of topics including fare problems and bad relations with the union.