Naming councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott, as the new budget chairman earlier this week, he also added council members Bob Macey, D-West Mifflin, and Sue Means, R-Bethel Park, to the committee yesterday.
Why? Well, as Mr. Finnerty puts it, he doesn't want to risk another budget fight, which stalled passage of the county's capital budget last week.
"We're not going to be in a situation where we only have three or four people and we can't get things done," he said Tuesday. "That's what's important to me."
Mr. Finnerty's statement seems to indicate he only has getting proper attendance on his mind. But some council watchers think Mr. Martoni is padding the budget committee to make sure Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's capital budget proposal gets pushed through.
More on the electoral math after the jump.
Let's run the votes. Prior to Mr. Martoni's appointments, the budget committee's members were Barbara Daly Danko, John DeFazio, Matt Drozd, Michael J. Finnerty, Amanda Green Hawkins, Heather S. Heidelbaugh, and John F. Palmiere. (Mr. Robinson is no longer on the committee at all, per council tradition.)
Danko, Green Hawkins and Heidelbaugh are likely to vote against a Finnerty budget. I'm thinking Drozd would too, though you can never tell. That leaves only DeFazio, Palmiere and Finnerty himself in support.
With the new members: Macey is almost certain to vote for Mr. Finnerty's budget, and I doubt Ms. Means will oppose it. Boom — budget passed, 5-4.
That's my prediction for 4 p.m. today, when the budget committee next convenes.