PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Although Mayor Bill Peduto scheduled his first sit-down TV interview with KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday, he really didn’t want to sit down at all.
“This room itself was designed by the architect who actually designed the very furniture — the desk in 1916,” Peduto declared, as he played tour guide, showing an office suite few people ever see.
The new mayor started with a two-sided desk.
Delano: “Did you check out the drawers?”
Peduto: “I did. I didn’t check them all out. Maybe the missing funds for our pension are in one of them.”
No such luck.
Delano: “Did Mayor Luke Ravenstahl leave you a letter? Isn’t that tradition?”
Peduto: “I didn’t receive a letter from Luke, so what I have in the drawer is the letter that was handed to me before the swearing-in from my girlfriend.”
That’s Caitlin Lasky, and Peduto says he prefers her note.
And there’s another historical find.
“This belonged to Mayor Joe Barr, and I believe it came from his home,” said Peduto, showing a large 1930’s piece of furniture. “It’s a radio.”
Peduto turned it on for the first time.
“It has really, really good static,” he noted, unable to tune in any station.
Outside his office is the mayor’s conference room with the portraits of his predecessors, but not for long. Peduto is moving them outside for greater public visibility.
“All the way down the mayor’s hallway,” he said.
With one exception — Ebenezer Denny.
“Revolutionary War hero, the first mayor of Pittsburgh, he stays here,” the mayor added.
Behind two of the portraits, noted Peduto, “There’s two doors, and this little secret door leads to my former place of employment.”
City Council, of course!
Back inside, Peduto led us into a specially locked room.
Peduto: “This is a vault. These are steel, fire-proof walls.”
Delano: “So what’s in the vault?”
Peduto: “Not much!”
Peduto says he found empty file cabinets and plenty of party supplies.
Another historic find behind these shelves in the vault — this old portrait of William Pitt.
Delano: “Is this the Pitt after whom Pittsburgh was named?”
Peduto: “Absolutely. Unfortunately, there’s a large tear [in the portrait].”
But the biggest find — a special door, says Peduto, “that leads to a secret passage.”
It’s a way for mayors, past and present, to sneak out of the office.
“And the secret passage goes down to the fourth floor, which we’re now into the director’s office for Parks & Recreation, but what we’re going to do is turn that office into a Bureau of Public Safety suite.”
Peduto says he’s not likely to use it.
“It’s very, very tight. I think I’ll take the front door,” he said.
A good idea for a mayor who says he’s all for open government.