Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City-Ica Feud Is Benefiting Only the Lawyers Right Now

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

City-Ica Feud Is Benefiting Only the Lawyers Right Now

Article excerpt

In a meeting the city claims was illegal, the only two voting members left on the state-appointed financial watchdog board decided Thursday the city can have nearly $3 million in casino money - if the mayor would do just one thing:

Write a note promising to be a good boy next year and have a new payroll system ready by January.

Payroll modernization is what Mayor Bill Peduto has said many times he intends to do anyway. So this looked like an olive branch, or at least a few of the leaves off one, from the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, which is perhaps the most ironic name in diplomacy since the Peacekeeper missile.

Anyone hoping for a breakthrough hasn't been paying attention. The city is suing the ICA, and the mayor said after the meeting that he isn't writing the incredible shrinking board any stinking notes, even one that would take maybe two minutes and just reiterate intent to do what he's already promised.

"The ICA is constantly changing the goalposts on us and this is just their latest trick," Mr. Peduto wrote in a Thursday email. "The root of our objection is that the ICA is a body that uses taxpayer dollars to hand out no-bid contracts to politically connected firms.

"They disregard the Sunshine Act [the state's open-meeting law] regularly. Today, they didn't even have a quorum so it's unlikely that any of the actions they took today are legally enforceable anyway. We aren't playing their game, and we will see them in court."

That's a long way of saying the city isn't taking yes for an answer, at least not when it's a qualified partial "yes" from a board it would like to see disappear.

And you thought Steelers and Browns fans didn't like each other. In the city-ICA feud, you could point to either group, say "They're wrong" and be confident you're at least partially right. They're like two rival packs of yapping terriers marking their territory.

Clearly, this will need to be settled in court - and the two sides can't even agree on where that should be. The city wants to use the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, but the ICA likes its chances better in Commonwealth Court. …

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