Here's something you don't see every day -- a member of Pittsburgh City Council issuing a subpoena to compel the city's public safety director to appear at a council meeting on snow removal. (Background on Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak's snow task force here.)
UPDATE: Huss says he'll appear before council.
From Rudiak's office:
Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak subpoenaed Public Safety Director Michael Huss to testify before Pittsburgh City Council today after numerous invitations to speak to City Council's snow task force had gone unanswered. Director Huss, who is also the City’s Director of Emergency Management, is compelled to appear before City Council on May 10th at 10 AM to testify about his role in the City’s emergency response to the snow storm that paralyzed Pittsburgh for nearly two weeks in February.
“One of the biggest problems during the snow storm was a lack of communication and coordination between government offices,” said Rudiak. “If we can't communicate about an emergency, how can we be expected to communicate during an emergency?”
Rudiak continued, “This subpoena is not a reflection on the uniformed men and woman who worked very hard during the snow storm. Police, Fire, EMS, Public Works, and our committed municipal employees worked very long hours, under dangerous circumstances, during those two weeks. We need to focus on the management of this emergency, and use the lessons learned to improve future emergency operations so we can keep our employees and residents safe.”
The subpoena comes after seven invitations were offered over the course of a month to interview Director Huss in a less formal, off the record setting. The invitations were made on March 10th, March 29th, April 7th, April 9th, April 16th, April 19th, and April 21st. None of the invitations received a response. The subpoena requires Director Huss to appear before the full Council on Monday, May 10th at 10 AM for a televised meeting.
And here's the city home rule charter language on subpoenas:
808. SUBPOENA POWER
In any case where an elected official, officer,
or unit of government has the power to conduct
public hearings the elected official, officer or unit of
government shall the authority to issue subpoenas for
the attendance of witness and to compel testimony
and the production of documents and other evidence.
The subpoena shall issue in the name of the City and
shall be signed by the elected official, officer or
presiding officer of the unit of government. Any
witness who refuses to obey a subpoena, or who
refuses to testify under oath or affirmation, may be
cited for contempt in any Court of Common Pleas