Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Romoff & Peduto: A Beautiful Start to Long Friendship?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Romoff & Peduto: A Beautiful Start to Long Friendship?

Article excerpt

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall for Wednesday's meeting between Mayor Bill Peduto and UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff. Might it have gone something like this?

Romoff: Ahhh, welcome, Mr. Mayor. So excellent of you to pay a visit. Would you like some wine -- I have a fine bottle of Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru.

Peduto: Thank you, no, I'd like to be able to focus on our issues.

Romoff: A politician who's all business, how refreshing -- I applaud you. What would you like to discuss then?

Peduto: For starters, there's a couple thousand of your workers demonstrating outside for better wages and unionization.

Romoff: Yes, so sad. Let me ask you, Mr. Mayor, do you have children?

Peduto: No, but I don't see --

Romoff: You see, I think of everyone connected to UPMC as my children, and it's so hard to see them turn on you when you've done everything to feed, clothe and raise them right. I am personally hurt by their protests, but I understand you must sometimes give the children a long leash and let them make their own mistakes. So sad, though -- don't you agree?

Peduto: But isn't there something you could do to acknowledge their concerns? It creates a bad impression and ties up traffic quite a bit to have all these people on the street.

Romoff: I understand your concerns, Mr. Mayor, but this is an internal UPMC matter. You surely have more important things to focus on around the city -- I noticed on my walk back from lunch, for example, that the sidewalks near Highmark's headquarters seemed very dirty. Perhaps your people should issue them a fine?

Peduto: I don't know about that, but I'm certainly concerned about your ongoing battle with Highmark. The sniping between the two of you, whether on television or in court, does no one any good.

Romoff: I couldn't agree more, Mr. Mayor. I hope you will be talking to these Highmark people about that very, very soon. Please let me know the result.

Peduto: But, Mr. Romoff, that's part of why I'm here today. There's a perception that UPMC is trying to advance its own monopolistic interests by refusing to work with Highmark, and that average people end up as the victims.

Romoff: Balderdash! …

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