Bill Peduto will be inaugurated Monday as Pittsburgh’s 60th mayor, and he takes office with a 5-inch thick binder with 1,100 pages of recommendations from citizens on how to improve the city.
Some 1,200 residents comprising 47 subcommittees delivered their reports and recommendations Monday evening to the mayor-elect and his management team.
“The response was overwhelming,” said Kevin Acklin, chairman of the transition committee and the incoming chief of staff for Peduto. According to Acklin the subcommittees began work Nov. 30 and made about 50 separate recommendations.
“It’s fantastic," he said. "They cover everything from ways to open city government to make it more accountable and make it more responsible to city neighborhoods that haven’t seen attention to address issues like energy efficiency and ways to increase our tax base and invest in housing and business districts.”
The recommendations also focused on education, public safety and improving the city’s infrastructure. Acklin said they answered some key questions.
“What is the recommendation, who needs to be involved, how much will it cost, have other cities done this kind of thing, what will change if we were to adopt your recommendation," he said. "So, it’s very specific, it’s a roadmap and a blueprint for us to build the next Pittsburgh.”
He added it’s fairly easy to come up with ideas.
“Creative people can get together in a room and talk about things they want to change," Acklin said. "The hard part of working in government is implementing it. What we were given were recommendations with ideas and creativity but also with specific steps we would need to take — whether it’s intergovernmental collaboration, funding sources, if we have to invest in some human capital and making sure people are managing these recommendations.”
Acklin said the recommendations will be posted on the transition committee’s web site and the executive team will now begin work on prioritizing what can be implemented first.
“We asked them (the subcommittees) to tell us whether this is an immediate item or something we’d like to tackle in the first 100 days or first year or first term,” Acklin said. “It’s our job now as the executive team to get together and review those and make them part of our legislative agenda.”