Essential Pittsburgh
3:40 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Jockeying Begins For the Role of City Council President

Current City Council President, Darlene Harris
Credit pittsburghpa.gov

As Bill Peduto gets set to take over the mayor's office, in Pittsburgh City Council the jockeying to overtake Darlene Harris as president has begun.

Pittsburgh City Paper editor Chris Potter says in his opinion, the three likely candidates would be Harris, Ricky Burgess and Bruce Kraus.

While both Burgess and Kraus bring more diversity to a position that has been predominantly heterosexual and white, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Nafari Vanaski says the focus should be on their credentials, not just the fact that they represent minority groups.

“I would want to see someone who has not only shown ability to get things done in their community but has also been willing to look at other communities and look at other groups. They can’t just say ‘Well, the black community needs help in Pittsburgh’ They must be willing to put their hand out to the LGBT community too. But I don’t know if anyone is willing to look beyond their own district or beyond their own group,” says Vanaski.

Potter believes that those who nominate candidates should be thinking about what the City Council will become after the new President is sworn in.

“The real question is what do you want council to be? Do you want an entity to work well alongside with the mayor or be a kind of check on the mayor’s authority and be an opposition to the mayor?”