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Allegheny County manager Willy McKain to leave for private sector job

The Allegheny County Courthouse in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Longtime Allegheny County manager William McKain is leaving government to become Chief Operating Officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the organization announced Tuesday.

McKain, who is also a certified public accountant, has served as county manager since he was nominated in July 2012. The county manager handles budget planning, policy creation, and other responsibilities that help implement the county executive’s goals.

“Willy often says that our employees are our best asset, and that couldn’t be a more apt description of him. For the last 10 and a half years, he has worked tirelessly to manage the day-to-day operations of this county, always thinking of how best to serve those who call this region home,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a Monday statement.

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Fitzgerald credited McKain’s leadership for the county’s steady property taxes, increased fund balance, and high bond ratings from rating agencies.

In a press release, Allegheny Conference CEO Stefani Pashman said McKain's public sector and leadership experience will help the nonprofit economic development organization "accelerate" it's "long term-vision to deliver a next generation economy for all."

As COO, he will help the Conference's executive team pursue a more robust program of marketing for business investment and talent and seek federal funds for building out key industry clusters in an effort to improve the economic competitiveness of the Pittsburgh region.

Other media outlets reported last summer that McKain and other Allegheny County executive branch employees received major salary increases during Fitzgerald’s final term in office.

According to salary records, McKain’s yearly compensation rose 47% between 2019 and 2022 to more than $235,000. Fitzgerald’s chief of staff Jennifer Liptak, senior deputy county manager Stephen Pilarski and director of performance and analytics M. Joanne Foerster also received large pay raises.

McKain is not the only high-profile county official to announce a departure ahead of the election for a new county executive later this year. Dr. Debra Bogen, the Allegheny County Health Department director, was recently named as the Pennsylvania secretary of health for Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration.

McKain's last day with Allegheny County will be Feb. 3.

Updated: January 24, 2023 at 11:16 AM EST
Updated with the announcement that Willy McKain is becoming Chief Operating Officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at
Jakob Lazzaro is a digital producer at WESA and WYEP. He comes to Pittsburgh from South Bend, Ind., where he worked as the senior reporter and assignment editor at WVPE and had fun on-air hosting local All Things Considered two days a week, but he first got to know this area in 2018 as an intern at WESA (and is excited to be back). He graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 and has also previously reported for CalMatters and written NPR's Source of the Week email newsletter.