Chelsa Wagner

Government & Politics
2:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Former County Controller to Challenge Chelsa Wagner in 2015

Mark Patrick Flaherty announces he is running for Allegheny County Controller, challenging fellow Democrat Chelsa Wagner who currently holds the post. Flaherty was Controller from 2004 to 2011.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Former Allegheny County Controller Mark Patrick Flaherty has announced his candidacy for the post currently held by Democrat Chelsa Wagner. Flaherty, who held the post from 2004 to 2011, will seek the Democratic nomination.

“I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to getting back and helping people and meeting a lot of people out there on the campaign trail and seeing what ideas and what suggestions they might have to improve efficiencies of county and all governments in Allegheny County,” said Flaherty.

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Government & Politics
5:23 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Controller: Hertz Owes Allegheny County $750,000

The rental car company Hertz owes Allegheny County nearly three quarters of a million dollars, according to County Controller Chelsa Wagner.

Wagner found the error while auditing three years worth of activities at Pittsburgh International Airport. Car rental companies are to collect and send to the county a $2 per vehicle per day tax. Due to a computer glitch, Hertz Corporation had not been submitting the receipts to the county.

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Election 2015
3:30 am
Mon December 8, 2014

County Controller Wagner To Launch Re-Election Campaign

Despite rumors that she was setting her sights on the County Executive’s office, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner will be officially launching her campaign for a second term at an event Monday night.

“I recognize that when you are running against any incumbent, that’s something that’s difficult,” Wagner said of her decision to not run for what's considered the third most powerful position in the state. “I think things can be done better in the county. It’s probably obvious by my position on some things, but at the same time I enjoy my job.”

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Allegheny County
5:33 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Wagner Criticizes Health Services at County Jail

“This is the most damning audit in terms of the findings in my tenure,” says Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner.

The controller is referring to an audit of Corizon, the Tennessee-based firm contracted to manage the infirmary and health care for inmates at the County Jail. Corizon provides health services at other jails and prisons across the country, including Rikers in New York

Wagner said Corizon, which is paid $11 million a year, is failing to provide clinical care to inmates. 

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Government & Politics
3:04 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Airport Audit Recommends Increased Access to Retailers at Pittsburgh International

An audit of the retail operations at the Pittsburgh International Airport found that, overall, the prices are similar to what you’d find in non-airport retailers. Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said the airport must adhere to a “street pricing” policy that dates back to when the facility opened and offered some of the only shopping in the area.

“Each year it’s typical that we find a number of items that are overpriced at the airport,” said Wagner, “this year’s included a Harley Davidson jacket, a pair of headphones and a few other items.”

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Gaming Funds
1:51 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Chelsa Wagner: With the Distribution of Gaming Funds, Not Everyone is a Winner

County Controller Chelsa Wagner is calling for more transparency in the distribution of Allegheny County’s gaming funds.

Wagner’s office audited the distribution of casino monies to the Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund (CITF) and the Gaming Economic Development Fund (GEDF) from 2010 to 2013 – totalling $28.2 million.

The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County (RAAC), an independent board appointed by the County Executive, is responsible for choosing which applicants receive funds from gaming: ranging from municipalities to non-profits to hospitals.

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Government & Politics
12:30 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

County Exec. Writes $42,737.52 Check to Cover Use of Jeep

In reaction to charges that he might have misused a county-owned vehicle, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has written a $42,737.52 check to cover all of the mileage he has put on his take home car since assuming office.

Last week County Controller Chela Wagner publicly questioned Fitzgerald’s use of the car citing several instances where he used the vehicle to get to and from what she labeled as political events. Wagner specifically questioned 19,556 miles, which she equated to $13,125 by applying the federal mileage reimbursement rate.

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Government & Politics
2:24 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Says Fitzgerald Misused County-Owned Vehicle

County Controller Chelsa Wagner stands next to a poster displaying a tweet from County Executive Rich Fitzgerald at the Democratic National Convention.
Credit Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is accusing County Executive Rich Fitzgerald of mishandling thousands of dollars in taxpayer funds by using his county-owned vehicle for personal purposes.

At a news conference Thursday, Wagner said she sent Fitzgerald a letter instructing him to send her staff accurate documentation so they can determine how much he must reimburse the county. She said his office would have to determine how they would reimburse the funds.

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Public Safety
5:36 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Says 911 Dispatchers Are Overworked; County Manager Refutes That

It’s reasonable to expect that, when calling 911, the person on the other end of the line is alert, well rested, and not overworked.

But Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said she’s concerned that the county’s 9-1-1 center employees are racking up too much overtime, leading to escalated costs and risks to public safety.

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Allegheny County
11:25 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Concerned About 'Potential Abuse' of County Vehicles

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner says she has received incomplete and inconsistent information about how many vehicles the county owns.
Credit Flickr user dfirecop

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said Tuesday she is concerned that the county does not know how many vehicles it has and how many of those go home with employees each night.

In a letter sent to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and County Manager William McKain Monday evening, Wagner reiterated a request for complete information about county vehicles and their usage for a pending audit.

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Allegheny County
7:50 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Audit Finds Issues at DHS Could Lead to Treatment Delays for Mental Health Care

A recent audit from Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has found that complex procedures and internal deficiencies in the Department of Human Services (DHS) could lead to problems in the facilitation of mental health services in the county.

“I think this audit shows that there are a number of breaks in the process and those breaks could result in residents in need falling through the cracks if they’re not receiving that help that they need in that most critical hour,” Wagner said.

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Government & Politics
2:30 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Controllers Wagner And Lamb: City Should Implement Joint Payroll System To Save Money

At a meeting this week of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner urged the city of Pittsburgh to implement a joint financial management system that she said is already-built and ready to go. Wagner said by not utilizing the payroll module, the city is taking a financial hit.

“There’s already a cost to past delays, we’re incurring a cost presently because of present delays and will continue to in the future if there are future delays,” she said.

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Allegheny County
5:53 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Releases Yearly Report on County's Fiscal Health

The takeaway: Allegheny County's fiscal condition is good, but policy makers shouldn't be complacent because challenges are on the horizon.

That's according to County Controller Chelsa Wagner, who released her 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Tuesday.

The report shows that the county’s fund balance stands at $28 million — up $15 million from the previous year,  and Standard & Poor’s rating agency has upgraded the county’s debt from A+ to AA-. Wagner also noted that jobs increased by more than 20,000 making the region home to more than 1.2 million employees.

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County Government
12:36 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Paperless Office in Sight for Allegheny County Controller

To cut costs and encourage more effective communication between businesses and county government, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is taking the next step in having her office go paperless.

Vendors are now being urged to send invoices to the county electronically, which will save the office between $15,000 and $20,000 per year in postage, paper and ink. 

Businesses still have the option to submit paper invoices, but Wagner said she expects using the electronic system to be a requirement soon.

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Government & Politics
7:40 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Allegheny County Controller Condemns Performance of Jail Healthcare Provider

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner this week sent a letter to Corizon Health, Inc. detailing her concerns about allegations that the company is providing substandard healthcare to inmates at the Allegheny County Jail.

Those allegations first surfaced in a Dec. 8 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which revealed internal e-mails between jail staff and Corizon.

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Government Transparency
5:31 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Chelsa Wagner Calls for More Transparency with Authorities

County Controller Chelsa Wagner has issued a letter to Allegheny County authorities asking them to increase their transparency.

Brad Korinski, county controller chief of staff, said the public needs and wants more transparency and supervision over authorities and how they spend taxpayer money.

“Authorities affect any number of aspects of our daily life as citizens,” Korinski said. “But I think that even the most engaged of our citizens would be hard-pressed to describe exactly how authorities do what it is that they do.”

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Reassessment Appeals
5:04 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

County Controller: Reassessments Significantly Different in Appeals

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has found what she believes to be a discrepancy in tax reassessment breaks between commercial and residential properties.

The controller’s office released information Monday showing commercial properties are receiving significantly bigger tax reassessment breaks than homeowners.

Wagner said there seems to be an inconsistency between how commercial properties were reduced and how residential properties were reduced at the assessment hearings.

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Labor
9:23 pm
Sat September 7, 2013

Hundreds of Protestors Stage Sit-In Outside UPMC

Protesters sit down to sing "Amazing Grace" outside UPMC in Oakland.
Credit Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Hundreds of protestors sat down in the middle of Fifth Avenue in Oakland outside of UPMC Presbyterian Saturday, singing “Amazing Grace” and calling on the healthcare giant to make some major changes.

Christoria Hughes, 56, works in the dining hall at Presbyterian for $12/hour, and said the rally wasn’t just about the employees of UPMC.

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"Off-Book" Accounts Audited
4:11 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

County Controller Wagner Audits 'Off-Book' Accounts

In the wake of Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper’s indictment on counts of conspiracy and theft of public funds, Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner wants to increase transparency in county funds.

She and County Manager William McKain are auditing “off-book” accounts with the goal of bringing them under the county’s centralized accounting and banking system.

She called the accounts “historic relics” from the county’s former row office structure.

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Allegheny County
2:49 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Debt a Major Issue in Allegheny County, Controller Says

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner outlines findings of the 2012 Comprehensive Financial Report for the county.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said Thursday one of the most concerning issues facing the county is the amount of money going toward debt services.

In 2012, the county’s debt load increased $90 million, according to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Total annual debt service payments have increased to $62.6 million.

“Of this $62.6 million, we are now paying more on the interest than on the principal,” Wagner said.

The debt service for the county poses a challenge to providing services and investments for communities.

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Government & Politics
11:03 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Pittsburgh Airport Trash Hauler Overbilled

The company that collects the trash from businesses at the Pittsburgh International Airport is overbilling its users according to an Allegheny County Controller’s audit released Thursday.

Controller Chelsa Wagner said Allied Waste Service of Pittsburgh incorrectly billed tenants from December 2007 through August 2012 resulting in extra charges of about $195,000.

Wagner’s office launched the audit after a customer complained to the Airport Authority, which then passed the complaint to the county’s fiscal watchdog.

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UPMC Lawsuit
3:15 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Pittsburgh Starts Legal Battle with UPMC over Nonprofit Status

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
Credit Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced Wednesday the city will embark in a legal battle against the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's nonprofit status.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court developed a nonprofit test as a result of the case Hospital Utilization Project v. Commonwealth. An organization must act within the following five "HUP" test parameters in order to be considered a purely public charity:

1. Advances a charitable purpose
2. Donates or renders gratuitously a substantial portion of its services

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Property Taxes
10:21 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Wagner Urges Taxpayers 'Watch Out For Windfalls'

Most of the attention and criticism of the property tax system over the past year has been about the reassessments of more than a half million properties in Allegheny County.

"The law is very clear," said County Controller Chelsa Wagner, "specifically in Allegheny County you cannot have any windfall. That doesn't mean 1 percent, that doesn't mean 5 percent, that means zero."

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Government & Politics
4:36 pm
Sun February 17, 2013

Allegheny County Controller Wagner Thinks Harrisburg Should Reconsider

Chelsa Wagner
Credit Allegheny County

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner is calling on the Pennsylvania legislature to allow local governments to decide if a landowner deserves to be given property tax breaks as a nonprofit entity.

Under the Pennsylvania Constitution, “purely public charities” are exempt from the payment of property taxes to local municipalities.  An April 2012 decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court enabled local taxing entities to more aggressively challenge tax-exempt status. 

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