PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Scott Township native, Bill Peduto is the first suburban-born resident in over a hundred years to be elected mayor of Pittsburgh.
But few mayors have come to office with his background in city government.
After a big win at the polls on Tuesday, Mayor-elect Peduto admits he hasn’t gone to sleep yet.
“I feel exhausted, Jon,” said Peduto on Wednesday.
“I feel like the triple storm of the emotional roller coaster of everything culminating yesterday, lack of sleep, and the well wishes of literally hundreds and hundreds of people.”
But one person he has not yet heard from is Luke Ravenstahl.
“I have not. I did receive a call from the Vice President last night and also a number of other elected officials, but I have not heard from Luke. I’m sure I will run into him,” he says.
Peduto, through his Transition Committee chair Kevin Acklin, has sent a letter to the Mayor and his staff, requesting that they not commit city funds in new hires or contracts through the remaining weeks of the Ravenstahl administration.
“We’re asking for their cooperation recognizing the city is still in a precarious financial situation,” said Acklin.
The mayor-elect promises big changes for the city with a new emphasis on revitalizing the neighborhoods.
“Our renaissance period has come to an end. It went from Mayor Lawrence to Mayor Ravenstahl. What we will focus on is rebuilding the neighborhoods within the city. The downtown is in a much better position than the majority of the neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh,” noted Peduto.
As for taxes on suburban residents who work in the city, Peduto wants to abolish the $52 a year commuter tax and replace it with a flat income tax.
“We should eliminate the $52 a year and go to a percentage base, whether that’s .1 percent or .5 percent of income for every municipality throughout Pennsylvania,” Peduto says.
Of course, no change in taxes can occur without legislative approval, so don’t look for any quick action here.
On Thursday, Peduto will announce his appointments to the Mayor’s office.
Acklin will be chief of staff, but other appointments are under wraps.
As for department directors, Peduto will conduct a national search through an independent foundation-supported entity called Talent City, and current directors will be eligible.
One position that won’t be filled until later next year is that of police chief.
The mayor-elect wants time to evaluate and reform public safety in the city.