City Councilman Bill Peduto wants the city ethics board to hold a hearing on the mayor nominating his brother to the Alcosan board. (The P-G editorial board today said the appointment "just plain stinks.") Here's letter (in full after the jump) Peduto wrote to board chairwoman Sister Patrice Hughes on Friday:
I am requesting that the Ethics Hearing Board rule on the decision of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to nominate his brother State Representative-elect Adam Ravenstahl to the Board of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority. The City Code has rules for appointing, hiring and promoting direct family members of elected officials and employees. As the code states, the only time a direct family member can be appointed is through a waiver from the Ethics Hearing Board.
§ 197.05 EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENT OF RELATIVES.
(a) No public official or public employee shall appoint, hire, advance or advocate the appointing, hiring or advancing of a member of his direct family to a position that is under the jurisdiction or control of the city.
(b) A member of the direct family of a public official or public employee shall not be appointed, hired or advanced to a position which is under the direct jurisdiction or control of the public official or public employee.
(c) The provisions of this section may be waived by the Board upon the Board's finding that considering factors as the person's experience qualifications and the responsibility of the position, the public interest would not be harmed as a result of the waiver.
These rules are similar to those followed by state and federal officials. They were adopted and approved in 1990 when the City created the Ethics Code. Questions regarding jurisdiction apply to both elected officials and city employees. For employees, the rules of jurisdiction were to oppose attempts of supervisors hiring their own direct family members. For elected officials, it is obvious that our jurisdiction goes beyond any one department or authority.
As elected officials, the Mayor and City Council have jurisdiction over the nomination and appointment of all Board, Authority and Commission members. The Mayor has the sole responsibility of nominating candidates to these positions and Council has the sole responsibility of approving the Mayor's nominees. City Code, § 197.05 clearly states “a) No public official or public employee shall appoint, hire, advance or advocate the appointing, hiring or advancing of a member of his direct family to a position that is under the jurisdiction or control of the city.” In this case, the nomination of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority nominee is the sole jurisdiction of the Mayor.
I am formally requesting that the Ethics Hearing Board investigate this nomination to determine the legitimacy of any elected City official appointing, hiring, advancing or advocating the appointing, hiring or advancing of direct family members.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions.