City Controller Michael Lamb will serve as Pittsburgh’s fiscal watchdog another four years after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat over primary challenger and City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.
Lamb, 52, will run unopposed in November for his third consecutive term, effectively ensuring a win. The Mt. Washington resident said his biggest priority for the next term is to provide an objective view of the city.
“Whether that’s financially or whether that’s the performance audits we do, I think my record has been just that," he said. "And so we certainly want to continue to provide an objective view of Pittsburgh.”
When Rudiak, 35, who has represented neighborhoods in the South Hills for six years on council, promised to bring fiscal leadership to the controller’s office when she first announced her primary bid.
“There is a better way to manage city finances — one that doesn’t waste taxpayer dollars, prevents fraud rather than excusing it, restores the public trust, invests in our children and transforms our city," she said at the time. "Being a watchdog isn’t enough. As controller, I will ensure that public money is spent with smart fiscal oversight, vision, and leadership.”
Lamb took the position with 66 percent of the nearly 30,000 votes.
One major project Lamb advocates for aims to save the city the $800,000 it pays an outside agency to track city payroll by providing that service in-house.
“More than half of the money in the city budget moves through the city budget through payroll," he said moments after acknowledging the win. "We need to have better control of this payroll, and we need to do it in a more effective and efficient way.”
The city’s controller is responsible for protecting city dollars from waste and fraud by auditing all city departments and authorities including parking, water and the housing authority. The payroll project managed by the Personnel Department, Office of Management and Budget and an independent consulting firm - Independent Catalyst - would also allow weekly payroll audits, Lamb said.