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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

Peduto Order Calls For Increased Budgetary Transparency

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued an executive order Wednesday tightening up some of the rules on city spending and budgeting procedures.

“Kinds of things that affect our city department citywide: personnel, technology, hiring, that kind of stuff, and he’s kind of centrally locating the oversight of all of that into our budget office,” said Tim McNulty, Peduto's spokesman.

The order outlines nine provisions and covers a variety of topics.

“Grants that the city gets and how we spend these grants, procurement, how we buy goods and services, contracting," McNulty said. "(It) also covers something as simple as pricing out city laws and ordinances."

The city has never affixed a specific price tag on bills approved by City Council. McNulty said that’s important to do to see the impact of legislation on the budget.

Consultants from the National Institute of Government Purchasing looked at procurement and thought of ways to streamline how the city buys and sells services, according to McNulty. Their report, issued in July, included 45 recommendations for making city spending on goods and services more efficient, easier to understand for taxpayers and businesses and easier for vendors to do business with the city.

“We’re trying to do our best to open up the rules for taxpayers to see how we pick our contracts (and) how we pick our vendors," he said. "We want to bring more vendors into the process so more people get the chance to bid on city work."

Peduto’s order comes in advance of the issuance of the city’s 2016 operating budget this fall. It is expected to follow the truth-in-budgeting model Peduto's administration adopted for the 2015 operating budget, which requires honest portrayals of city finances.

The Office of Management and Budget will enforce the terms of the order. Its first step is to write new policy guidelines on scoring of legislation, according to McNulty. Procurement and the operating budget, which is due next month, are slated next.

The office has through Sept. 1 to issue the first policy changes on legislative scoring.

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