The Pittsburgh Foundation is hoping a website it is launching will help the next mayor choose fresh faces for key positions.
The site, Talent-City.org, will begin posting job openings after the November election for the top position in each city department and their direct reports.
“The website is part of a broader effort to help ensure that the city institutes a new process of hiring with an emphasis on qualifications,” said Grant Oliphant, Pittsburgh Foundation president and CEO.
While both the Republican and Democratic mayoral candidates have endorsed the effort, the Pittsburgh Foundation will only be able to make recommendations. The plan is for a search firm to review all the applications, send along those who are qualified to foundation-appointed review panels, which will then further vet the candidates and forward along to the new mayor the top three to five finalists for each position.
“Our interest is that whoever is elected mayor is going to make a statement that it’s a new day in Pittsburgh, and they really want to focus on a different approach to hiring,” Oliphant said.
The Pittsburgh Foundation is putting $275,000 into the initiative, which will be overseen by a 10-member bipartisan panel.
Oliphant said the team will focus on key leadership positions in finance, planning, administration and public safety. Each category will be spearheaded by one of three selection committees. The final selection will be made by the new administration.
“The process is simply designed to ensure that the candidates they are looking at really are the best and most qualified for those jobs,” said Oliphant.
He noted that this effort is not an attempt to say that current city employees are not qualified to do their jobs.
“It’s important for the city of Pittsburgh, we think, to send a signal that this city is not a closed system,” Oliphant said.
The Oversight Committee will continue to offer help to the new administration through the fall 2014. Oliphant thinks the system can handle about 35 positions. The process will be reviewed after it is launched to see if it should be expanded.
Along with taking applications, the site will provide a portal to submit ideas for the new mayor to consider as he builds his priorities.
“This website will continue to provide a vehicle … almost a town square for Pittsburgh, to talk about what they hope to see,” Oliphant said.
The site is to remain active for about a year.