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Fitzgerald Supports Pay Stoppage for Reassessment Contractor

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says it's appropriate for County Controller Chelsa Wagner to withhold pay from Tyler Technologies while she conducts an audit of the company's Countywide reassessment of property values.

At a court hearing on Monday, the Texas-based contractor threatened to quit without finishing the reassessment process. Tyler Technologies said the county was in breach of contract for withholding roughly $660,000 in payments since December. Wagner took office in January.

However, Fitzgerald said Tyler's work has been "fraught with errors," and he said it's fair for Wagner to sit on the paychecks while she determines if the company gave unfair advantages to affluent communities.

"There's a lot of questions about the accuracy of the reassessment process, and I think the Controller should be reviewing the contract and reviewing all of the important parts of it, and if there's problems there, she should withhold payment," said Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said his administration won't ask Wagner to reconsider, but he said Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick has the power to force the Controller to pay Tyler Technologies.

"This is the judge's show," said Fitzgerald. "He's inflicted this upon the people of Allegheny County, and I don't know what he's going to do at this point. We ought to pull the plug on it."

Fitzgerald said he's not sure it would matter much even if Tyler Technologies did walk out.

"I don't know how much they've done. I don't know how much of the data has been turned over," said Fitzgerald. "I'm guessing most of it has been. The assessment, in essence, has been done."

Fitzgerald cited the recent pay dispute as one of many reasons to revert back to the 2002 base-year property values. Tyler Technologies has already received nearly $7 million since beginning the work.