In reaction to charges that he might have misused a county-owned vehicle, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has written a $42,737.52 check to cover all of the mileage he has put on his take home car since assuming office.
Last week County Controller Chelsa Wagner publicly questioned Fitzgerald’s use of the car citing several instances where he used the vehicle to get to and from what she labeled as political events. Wagner specifically questioned 19,556 miles, which she equated to $13,125 by applying the federal mileage reimbursement rate.
Fitzgerald originally called it a politically motivated move and his tone did not change Wednesday when he turned over his check.
“To be clear, I am voluntarily reimbursing the county for every single mile driven in this vehicle since I became County Executive because I am committed to doing everything within my power to strengthen Allegheny County instead of focusing on responding to calculated political attacks,” Fitzgerald said.
He said he began using his own car for all of his travel this weekend and will continue to do so at his own expense for “as long as I serve as County Executive.”
“The recent news coverage has brought to light several conflicts between the County Ethics Code and county policies regarding take home vehicles. Consequently, I will be submitting legislation to Allegheny County Council to amend the Ethics Code to ensure that the language corresponds with the policy and IRS regulations that we have been following,” said Fitzgerald.
The County Executive has also asked his County Manager to review the list of take-home vehicles assigned to county employees and to assess each position's need for the transportation.
Controller Wagner has not responded to requests for comment.