Allegheny Co. Exec Fitzgerald could face veto overrides on bills on fracking, executive hires

“Even during that production, nothing came on to county parkland, nothing was disruptive,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald also defended fracking firms from negative generalizations, drawing an unusual comparison to identity-based stereotypes.

“If these companies all get painted with a broad brush, you know, if we did that around things like gender, or ethnicity or sexual orientation or race,” he said. “That’s not the way we do things.”

Fitzgerald said a new bill he supports is currently awaiting release from committee, and would, if approved, create a new framework for future lease agreements on public parks where council, administration, and the affected local municipality would all have shared say on the terms.

Fitzgerald did not comment on the second veto during the news conference, but released copies of his letter to Council President Pat Catena, where he argued extending council’s role in approving executive hires contradicts the language of the home rule charter.

The underlying bill, also passed last week, grants council effective veto power over director-level hires. It was introduced in the wake of public grumblings over steep raises granted to several senior county staffers over the past three years.

Fitzgerald, in his veto, criticized the law on constitutional grounds.

“Council’s role in establishing a departmental structure through the passage of the Administrative Code does not give it the power to approve of the directors of those departments or any other executive branch employee,” Fitzgerald wrote.

Council has 30 days to attempt to override the vetoes, which are dated July 5.

Catena told Pittsburgh City Paper he plans to call a special meeting within that time, and expressed frustration with Fitzgerald’s delay in publicizing the vetoes.

“I find it kind of ironic for the county executive to wait till 6:01 p.m. [on the night of a meeting that began at 5 p.m.] to announce the veto,” Catena said.

Unless Fitzgerald, or Catena — who supported both original bills before the veto — can drum up new support, council will override the fracking ban but will fall short in overturning the new rules on appointments.

“I’ll be having some talks with my colleagues over the next few days,” Catena said.

Jamie Wiggan is the news editor of Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared.

Originally published at,by Special to the Capital-Star

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