The holiday spirit at Pennsylvania Society was interrupted Friday night as County Executive Rich Fitzgerald unceremoniously threw county Controller Chelsa Wagner out of the reception he was hosting along with Mayor-elect Bill Peduto.
As Ms. Wagner mingled at the reception at St. Bart's Inside Park, Eric Hagarty, the fund-raising ace for Mr Fitzgerald and Mr. Peduto, approached the controller and told her she wasn't welcome. As she continued to meet and greet, Mr. Fitzgerald took matters into his own hands.
"I said, 'Chelsa, you're not invited,' '' the executive recounted a few moments later.
"This is a party for supporters,'' he said. "You're not going to be my enemy for two years and show up the party,'' h sadi later.
Mr. Fitzgerald and Ms. Wagner have clashed over a variety of fiscal issues in county government. And the controller was a supporter of her uncle, former Auditor General Jack Wagner, in his race against Mr. Peduto, the executive's close ally, in last spring Democratic primary for mayor.
After noting the bi-partisan roster of guests that were welcomed to the Park Avenue event, Mr. Fitzgerald added, "We want to make sure we have a lot of good partners that are working together and quite frankly, the woman I asked to leave is not a partner; she's an obstructionist to the progress we need in this town.''