Among the supporters at Mayor Bill Peduto’s primary election night victory party was Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
“We've had a good relationship for a long time,” Fitzgerald said. “We talk all the time … we have a very similar outlook in how we try to govern.”
Fitzgerald has been county executive since January 2012, two years longer than Peduto has been mayor, and he's looking forward to continuing to work together.
“It works better for the region when that happens,” Fitzgerald said.
Without offering specific instances, he said cooperation hasn’t always been the case.
“When you have conflict [among local leaders], what typically happens is outsiders, meaning Washington, Harrisburg and businesses, tend to walk away,” Fitzgerald said.
According to the county executive, federal and state officials considering development projects, and businesses considering locating in the area want to be certain that local leaders are in synch.
“We’re working smoothly together, and I think that relationship has borne benefits for the region, for the city and the county,” he said.
Fitzgerald admits that he and the mayor don’t always agree, that the city’s and the county’s priorities aren’t always in lock step.
“We don’t put them out in public and start criticizing each other," Fitzgerald said. "I can’t even think of many over the past three-plus years he’s been mayor.”
Fitzgerald said he and Peduto are in agreement about future priorities: improving transportation, investing in infrastructure and enhancing neighborhoods that have “been left behind.”
The Fitzgerald-Peduto partnership could continue for several more years, because under the county home rule charter, Fitzgerald is eligible to seek a third four-year term in 2019.