Monday, August 24, 2009

Council says Mayor's G20 Bills Lacking

After being hastily called back into session at the request of the mayor’s office to consider G20- related legislation, Pittsburgh City Council members are wondering why the bills are not ready. Of the six bills the mayor’s office sent to City Council, at least two were not complete. Councilman Patrick Dowd says he moved his bill allowing the city to contract with outside police officers for work during the G20 even though it was incomplete because he did not want to cause a delay. However, he says it is little more than just a cover page and blank attachments. He says there are key questions that need to be answered such as who covers workmen's compensation, disability, or death benefits if an officer is injured or killed. What about any liability issues that arise from an officer’s behavior? Dowd wants the details by 9:00am Tuesday. Council will debate the bills Friday, which is half the usual 8 days between the introduction of a bill and committee debate. He says that leaves very little time for council members and the public to understand the legislation fully. The mayor’s office has also submitted a pair of bills dealing with G20- related budget changes. The first bill identifies $14.3 million dollars in additional revenues from state and federal sources. The second bill lists costs “not to exceed 16 million. Councilman Bill Peduto wants to know what lines in the budget are being cut to cover the costs. He suggests maybe the county should be asked to fill the gap.

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