Peduto team: Wagner left state "mess"

Published by Tim McNulty on .

Eugene DePasqualeBill Peduto's mayoral campaign is using reforms by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale -- once an ally of Jack Wagner, his predecessor in the job -- to beat up on Peduto's chief rival for the mayor's seat.

DePasquale's office announced today that it was cleared up a backlog of 1,500 audits over the last 90 days and implied that the office was out-of-date and inefficient. A news release says DePasquale (left) has eliminated 50 cars from the office fleet and cut travel expenses by $87,000 over the same time last year (when Wagner was in office). The audit backlog was part of "the natural lag in production during a leadership transition," the release notes.

Peduto spokeswoman Sonya Toler argued that should raise doubts about Wagner's leadership abilities:

"The department that Jack Wagner vacated so that he could move on to his next political ambition had a backlog of 1,500 audits and Wagner wants Pittsburgh voters to believe that he is the leader who can turn around our government. It took current Auditor General Eugene DePasquale a mere 90 days to clear up the mess that Wagner. This proves that Wagner is not the kind of leader Pittsburgh deserves or needs."

Wagner spokesman J.J. Abbott decried Peduto's "petty politics" and defended his auditing owrk. He also notes his boss didn't leave the state job so he could run for mayor -- he served the two full terms allowed by law:

"Once again, it is disheartening for the people of Pittburgh to see Bill Peduto laser-focused on scoring political points. Bill Peduto's campaign lacks an understanding of state government or how a major government organization works. Jack Wagner stands by his record as Auditor General, completing 25,000 audits in his tenure even with serious budget cuts and staffing reductions. Jack was term-limited, audits are cyclical, and backlogs are a natural part of the transition process. Jack remains focused on the critical issues in this race, including ending the petty politics that have plagued City Government."

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