Office of Mayor William Peduto
New City Ethics Hearing Board Holds First Meeting Thursday
Independent board , which has not met in years, has new powers to investigate and act on ethics complaints, and protect whistleblowers from recrimination

PITTSBURGH, PA (November 2, 2016) Pittsburgh's new Ethics Hearing Board – comprised of members nominated by legal and civic organizations citywide – will have its first meeting tomorrow, with broad powers to investigate ethics complaints and implement ethics training programs for City employees. 

The meeting is the Board's first in several years, and is the result of ethics legislation approved by Mayor William Peduto and sponsored by City Councilman Dan Gilman in October 2015. The public meeting is at 4 p.m. Thursday, November 3, on the 6th Floor of the City-County Building. 

"Ethics reform was a priority of mine when I was on City Council and it continued into the first days of my administration, when I issued orders cutting take-home cars and free parking passes to employees, and banning elected officials' names from being placed on public property. This new board will ensure all ethics rules are investigated and followed independently, rapidly and transparently," Mayor Peduto said. 

The new board was recommended by Mayor Peduto's Law & Ethics Transition Team, chaired by Solicitor Lourdes Sanchez-Ridge. She guided the drafting of the ordinance. 

"I am happy to say that the City’s Ethics Hearing Board and its processes are a combination of best practices of ethics boards across the country. Having most board members nominated by community organizations and not by the Mayor or City Council ensures that their decisions will not be politically influenced," she said. 

The newly constituted nine-member board has powers to investigate ethics complaints with the assistance of a new executive manager; to compel testimony through subpoenas; to review and take action on financial disclosure reports; to act on complaints within designated time frames; and recommend suspensions, terminations and fines for employees. 

The legislation revamping the Board additionally includes new whistleblower protections for those filing complaints. 

The new executive manager is Linda A. King. She graduated from Duquesne University, with a degree in Political Science, before earning her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 1987. King was formerly a partner at King  & King and has been in private practice as a general litigator for 29 years.  

The new ethics law says Board members shall be recommended to the Mayor by a nominating panel. The nominating panel consists of the following members, with each organization nominating one member of the board: 

  • Allegheny County Bar Association 

  • Dean of the Law School (Pitt and Duquesne to alternate on a rotating basis) 

  • Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce 

  • Allegheny County Labor Council 

  • Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education 

  • Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh 

  • Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership 

  • The President of City Council 

  • The Mayor 

The law says each of those nominated should be an individual with an ethics background or experience in a field relevant to the Board's work.  The Mayor appoints the individuals, subject to confirmation by City Council. 

More information on the board members is available here.

 

Published:
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Contacts
Timothy McNulty
Communications Director
City of Pittsburgh
Cell: 412-660-1999
Email

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