Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor Tweets of Work from Off-Site Social Media Drive a Campaign to Build His Legacy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor Tweets of Work from Off-Site Social Media Drive a Campaign to Build His Legacy

Article excerpt

With just 2 1/2 months remaining in office, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced last week that he planned to use the remainder of his term to build his legacy with an aggressive media campaign, starting with the revival of his mostly dormant official Twitter account, @mayorluke, and his Facebook account.

"I plan to tell my story there," he told a group of reporters. "This new approach is one where I can speak directly to people."

Among his enthusiastic messages about his legacy -- which he tagged with #7YearsofSuccesses -- are two tweets about the more mundane aspects of the job: staff meetings.

But on both occasions, Twitter's own location services -- which a user can set to broadcast where the tweet originated -- showed they were sent from far outside the City-County Building. On one occasion, Twitter showed the tweet was sent from near the mayor's home in the middle of the day. In the second, Twitter showed the message was sent from a country club, again, during the workday.

On Friday afternoon, he tweeted "Friday staff mtg. Our success is a result of so many dedicated City employees! #7yearsofsuccesses." His tweet included a photo of his conference room, with nine staff members, including public safety director Mike Huss, chief of staff Yarone Zober and spokeswoman Marissa Doyle.

Ms. Doyle said the meeting lasted from 11:30 a.m. until about 12:30 p.m. His tweet came about 20 minutes later and indicates that he sent it while he was just a few doors down from his Fineview home.

And on Tuesday, shortly before 2 p.m., he sent a message about a budget meeting, attaching a link to a document in which he listed his "Top 10 Financial Accomplishments" on official letterhead. He also included a photo of himself sitting at his desk with members of his finance team and Mr. Zober.

"One of my last budget meetings. Proud of our work!" the tweet read.

The meeting had actually occurred around 24 hours prior -- on Monday. On Tuesday, when he sent the message, Twitter put him not in his office, but at Shannopin Country Club in Ben Avon Heights.

Ms. Doyle provided information about the times of the meetings but did not answer any other questions about what the mayor was doing or if he was engaged in city business while he was out of the office in the middle of a workday. She also would not say if Friday staff meetings are regularly scheduled.

Department heads have described the mayor as hands-off and have said he does not meet with them on a regular basis.

Mr. Ravenstahl couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday and didn't respond to messages left on his Twitter account and Facebook page.

Last week, though he declined to provide details, he claimed to be still engaged in city business. He likened his job to "pushing a rock up a hill every single day."

His lack of public appearances in recent months make it difficult to discern how much he's actually working, and he declined to say how often he shows up at the City-County Building. …

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