What is Ricky Burgess going to do next, invite Jake Haulk to the prom?
The conservative Allegheny Institute heaped praise on the city councilman after he proposed subjecting all property tax increases to voter referenda. Now he's championing another plan revered by small-government activists (and included in Allegheny County's new home rule charter) -- a requirement that city elected officials resign when running for other offices.
From the Homewood councilman's office:
On Tuesday, January 11 , 2011, at 9:30 am, Councilman Burgess will hold a Press Conference in the City County-Building, 5th Floor Foyer in front of Council Chamber. There Councilman Burgess, with the support of Councilwoman Smith, will detail legislation proposing a referendum question on the May Primary Ballot limiting Pittsburgh City elected officials from running for higher elected office.
This proposed change is modeled from Allegheny County’s Home Rule Charter. It’s time to separate our duty as public servants from political promotion and aspiration in the City of Pittsburgh. It’s time to implement a “resign-to run” law in the City of Pittsburgh.
Typically, such rules are meant as a hold on lifetime politicians, and to keep from government officials from being in campaign mode while in office. Which is why they're unpopular with politicians. (County Council has tried to rescind the rule before, only to be vetoed by county exec Dan Onorato.) In the county, the rule has real teeth -- should county council prez Rich Fitzgerald run for executive when/if Dan Onorato announces he's not running for a third time, he will have to resign. Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty will not, since row offices are not covered by the rule.