Wednesday, June 20, 2007

City Death Pool

It may be morbid, but somebody's gotta start laying odds on who's ultimately going to get canned following Luke's orgy of forced resignations. Some folks are going to make it out, while others are are going to be out on the street. Here's the latest line and commentary:

Guy Costa

Age: 51
Job: Public Works Director
Why he's going to stay: It's no secret that the Costa Family pretty much has their collective hands in every level of government. To fire Guy would be to toss a live hand grenade into the Pittsburgh Political establishment... or biting a hand that fed you, either way.
Why he's going to be fired: Currently, Costa is the odds on favorite to be the first on fired. The suspicion is that he has irked mayoral ally Jim Motznik enough to warrant a firing; the further suspicion is that Motznik himself wants the job. Oh yeah, and there was that whole Koch T-Shirt/Redd Up Crew faux pas that wasn't handled that well.
ADB Odds of being fired: 2:1

Ron Graziano

Age: 47
Job: Bureau of Building Inspection Chief
Why he's going to stay: Ron's been with BBI for about 7 years, if my memory serves me correctly, and is a hold over from the Murphy administration with a ton of experience in his position. Ron runs a tight shop and his staff seems to be responsive to public needs.
Why he's going to be fired: As part of the new "fast track" development process, Ron may not be moving fast enough.
ADB odds: 4:1

George Specter

Age: 72
Job: Acting City Solicitor
Why he's going to stay: By all accounts I've heard, George Specter has been a competent civil servant and is, to use a borrowed phrase, "a stand up guy."
Why he's going to be fired: If the conspiracy theories swirling around Grant Street are to be believed, the last thing that the Mayor's Office wants is "a stand up guy." If Luke & Co. are planning on doing something, let's say, "not within the standards of, generally held, legal conduct" they're going to want a legal counsel that will give them the OK to do it. Think a yinzer Alberto Gonzales: a loyal General Counsel that can double as a fall guy.
ADB odds: 3:1

Duane Ashley

Age: 54
Job: Citiparks Director
Why he's going to stay: Two reasons: (1) He's black and (2) It's fucking Citiparks and no one cares.
Why he's going to be fired: It's fucking Citiparks and no one cares.
ADB odds: 10:1

Robert McCaughan

Age: 53
Job: Emergency Medical Services Chief
Why he's going to stay: Heck, I didn't even know this was a political bone of contention. I would have assumed that this would have been just another "work-your-way-up" kind of Civil Service job. Besides, I can't actually complain about the EMS service, considering I haven't used it in 20 years.
Why he's going to be fired: Considering that the Police & Fire jobs were apparently plum assignments and are potential union pleasing jobs, the Mayor could see the opportunity to shore up a few extra votes.
ADB Odds: 8:1

Howard A. Stern

Age: 46
Job: City Information Services Director
Why he's going to stay: Again, another job that I didn't really think was a politically sensitive position... unless, of course, the City is still smarting over the PeopleSoft fiasco.
Why he's going to be fired: He's white. He's a guy. He has a job that no one really cares about. However, if he is replaced by a minority or woman, suddenly the mayor shows that he really cares about workforce diversity... even if it is just a token appointment.
ADB Odds: 5:1

Jerry Dettore

Age: 59
Job: Executive Director, Urban Redevelopment Authority
Why he's going to stay: As far as I can tell, Jerry's taken every opportunity to (in public) back the mayor's development decisions. He seems to be falling in line quite nicely to the Ravenstahl "Vision" for the City.
Why he's going to be fired: The URA Executive Director is probably one of the most powerful unelected positions in City Government... and the office is currently held by a lifelong public servant, not a Luke appointee. That kind of responsibility can't be trusted to mere "mortals."
ADB Odds: I was going to give him 2:1 odds, until I saw this article indicating that Mr. Dettore is questioning the Mayor's authority to demand his resignation, which, according to the article, has to come from the (mayoral appointed) URA board. While I love to see a good Bureaucrat vs. Politician throwdown, I'm upping the odds to EVEN.

David G. Onorato

Age: 50
Job: Executive Director, Pittsburgh Parking Authority
Why he's going to stay: Four words: County Executive Dan Onorato. Firing brother Dave would make the Ravenstahl/Onorato joint conferences even more awkward.
Why he's going to be fired: Parking tax is still at 50% and someone needs to take the blame... someone that's unelected, that is.
ADB Odds: 20:1

Gregory Tutsock

Age: 52
Job: Executive Director, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority
Why he's going to stay: Greg, like Jerry Dettore, has been at his authority forever and is intimately involved with every aspect of the organization, including the horrendously complicated EPA/ALCOSAN/DEP/LMNOP consent decree. Besides, there's a whole lot of political strings to be pulled over at PWSA.
Why he's going to be fired: If there's an authority in this list that has been generally held to need a good kick in the ass, it's PWSA.
ADB Odds: 10: 1

Phillipe R. Pettite

Age: 56
Job: Manager of Commission on Human Relations
Why he's going to stay: The irony of firing the black guy who's in charge of assuring that hiring policies are equitable would just be too much, even for this administration.
Why he's going to be fired: He might not "equitable" enough to the right people.
ADB Odds: 5:1

So, that's my take on it. The smart money is on Jerry and Guy, but Barbaro is still a long shot... which despite being a horse, and dead, does not rule him out in this game.

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