PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Chairs were set up in City Council chambers on Friday for Monday morning’s swearing in of a new city council — and it’s likely to be very different from past councils.
“If you look at the changing face, we have almost half of City Council now that is, I think, under the age of 35,” Councilman-elect Dan Gilman told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “We have almost half of council that is female, both records in the history of city council.”
At age 31, Gilman of Shadyside will be council’s newest member come Monday, but not its youngest. Corey O’Connor is still in his twenties.
But along with Daniel Lavelle and Natalia Rudiak, council is younger.
Besides gender and racial diversity, Rudiak says older residents are more willing to elect younger officials.
“I think you see even an older generation much more comfortable handing over the reins of leadership to younger folks and really looking at different ways to do things,” she added.
And a younger council means lots of changes, especially in technology.
“Right now, Jon, our building inspectors don’t have email. You can’t do permitting online. You can’t pay for anything including your taxes with a credit card. You can’t submit building plans via email,” noted Gilman. “We’re trying to run a 21st century city with 1980s technology.”
Once a new council is sworn in at 10 a.m. Monday morning, then the first order of business is to elect a new president.
And, once again, history could be made.
Insiders think Councilman Bruce Kraus of the South Side — the city’s first openly gay council member — has the inside track to be elected president.
Rudiak says Kraus will create a better relationship with the new mayor.
“Bruce Kraus has the competence and the integrity to do that,” said Rudiak.
Given frictions of the past, that could be the biggest change of all.