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City Finance Oversight Board Appoints New Members

Sarah Schneider
90.5 WESA

The financial oversight authority created by the state legislature now has a full five-member board. For several months, the board was down to two members.

The city is currently suing the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority for withholding gambling tax revenue when, the city said, the board had open seats and no legal right to withhold the money. For months, the board was down to two members until Gov. Tom Wolf, Sen. Jay Costa and Rep. Frank Dermody appointed members in the last month.

BJ Leber was elected the new board chair at Monday’s quarterly meeting. Leber, who is president and CEO of Adagio Health, was appointed by Wolf. She was previously the chief of staff to former Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O’Connor and president and CEO of the West Penn Hospital Foundation. She was vice president and station manager of WQED, and now sits on the board for the Community Broadcast Center, which oversees WYEP and WESA.

Paul Harper was elected board secretary. He is an assistant professor of business administration at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. He was appointed to the board by Costa.

State Rep. Dermody appointed Esther Barazzone earlier this month. The retired Chatham University President has also been a member of numerous boards.

The other two seats are filled by Nick Varischetti and Michael Danovitz, both Pittsburgh attorneys.

The board passed a set of resolutions on how the ICA will conduct business in the future, based on recommendations from the city’s finance director, Paul Leger.

The guidelines are:

·         ICA shall competitively and publicly bid every contract that may exceed $10,000 and each contract must be made publicly available online once awarded and executed, any expenditure made outside of a contract must be approved in advance by the ICA board

·         ICA shall prepare annual budgets with line item detail approved and adopted by ICA board, these budgets must detail prior year expenditures and revenues, current year estimated revenue and expenditures, estimated including any personnel costs by budgeted position or contract as is required by city of Pittsburgh budgets

·         ICA shall issue monthly financial reports to the board detailing all expenditures and revenues of ICA

·         Board will hold all meetings in council chambers in evening, televised on city channel

·         Detailed agendas for all meetings should be distributed to ICA board, DCED, Act 47 coordinators, mayor, controller, and city council president and city clerk at least 5 business days prior to the meeting

·         Public notice of all ICA meetings will be posted in the PG, Trib and Courier and communicated to the ICA board, and all at least 5 business days

·         All ICA meetings should be held in a manner compliant to the Sunshine Act 

The board tabled approving funding to update the authority's website which is currently "under construction."

Sarah Schneider is WESA's education reporter. From early learning to higher education, Sarah is interested in students and educators working to create more equitable systems. Sarah previously worked with news outlets in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Idaho. She is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she worked for the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian.