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Politics & Government

O'Connor Joins City Council, Harris Remains President

As Corey O'Connor, the son of late Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor, was sworn into the 137th Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday, there was much talk of cooperation among elected officials. However, the talk couldn't put a stop to the political maneuvering common to Pittsburgh's legislative body.

After surviving an attempt to vote her out of the Council presidency, Darlene Harris made a major change to the committee leadership among Council Members.

Councilman Bill Peduto was essentially demoted from his leadership role as chief of the Finance & Law Committee, and was instead charged with heading the Human Resources Committee. Councilman Ricky Burgess will now be responsible for overseeing financial matters for Council.

"All of our committees are important," said Harris, just before naming Peduto the Human Resources Chair. The shift in leadership may have resulted from Peduto's nomination of Bruce Kraus to be Council President, a measure that was struck down after only Kraus, Peduto, and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak voted for it.

Kraus and Rudiak retained their positions as the chairs of the Public Works Committee and Performance & Asset Management Committee, respectively. The only other changes were for Councilman Daniel Lavelle to be given the Land Use & Economic Development Committee and for O'Connor to be given the Urban Recreation Committee.

The body's only new Councilman had an emotional inauguration, as O'Connor both announced his engagement to Congressman Mike Doyle's legislative staffer Katie Stohlberg and also tearfully spoke about his father, who also once held the District 5 Council seat before taking a job with Governor Ed Rendell and then becoming mayor. Corey O'Connor said that he's eager to follow in his father's footsteps.

"We want to start working with volunteers, working with our community, working with our neighbors, working with our small businesses to give them the best product possible," said O'Connor.

Council Members Burgess, Harris, Kraus, and Patrick Dowd were sworn in to four-year terms on Tuesday, in addition to O'Connor.