Michael Lamb

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is on target to meet revenue expectations and possibly end with a surplus, according to City Controller Michael Lamb.

Lamb, who gave a mid-year update at the City County Building on Tuesday, said Pittsburgh made progress on its long-term debt through December despite having borrowed money in 2014. But, he said, city officials could do more.

City Controller Michael Lamb will serve as Pittsburgh’s fiscal watchdog another four years after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat over primary challenger and City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak.

Lamb, 52, will run unopposed in November for his third consecutive term, effectively ensuring a win. The Mt. Washington resident said his biggest priority for the next term is to provide an objective view of the city.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said the city is doing well financially, but it could still improve spending.

Lamb released the 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report which showed Pittsburgh ended the year with a total fund balance of $183 million, an increase of $22.6 million from 2013.

pittsburghpa.gov

With two weeks to go before the deadline to file nominating petitions, Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak has officially announced her candidacy for City Controller. 

Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh is taking big steps toward financial transparency.

Officials Wednesday unveiled Fiscal Focus Pittsburgh, a web project that tracks the city’s revenues and expenditures over the last three years, including the 2015 estimated budget.

The City of Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Emergency Services (EMS) has seen increased call volume in recent years, and responders have kept pace. That’s according to an audit released Wednesday by Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb.

“Back in 2006/2007 we were looking at almost 116,000 calls, now we’re up to almost 122,000 calls in that two-year period [2012-2013], and despite that increase in call volume, we found that average response times pretty much held steady,” said Lamb.

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Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said Wednesday that he didn’t find any evidence of nepotism at the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority in his latest performance audit, but the perception of such favoritism is hurting the organization.

“There’s this continuing perception that everything at ALCOSAN is pay-to-play, whether it’s contracting, personnel hiring, any of these issues,” Lamb said. “We wanted to get in and make sure these procedures are in place, because we know ALCOSAN is going to grow over the next 20 years.”

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Since 2008, the city of Pittsburgh has lost more than $380,000 from checks returned by banks, due to non-sufficient funds or other problems.

Controller Michael Lamb announced the losses at a press conference Wednesday, saying he had just issued recommendations to the Department of Finance about how to fix the problem.

Chief among his recommendations: compile a list of all the points of entry for payments by check coming into the city.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

There’s good news and bad news.

That was the message from city of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb Wednesday, as his office released its 2013 Popular Annual Financial Report. Lamb called the report the “layman’s version” of the city’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was released early this year.

The good news, said Lamb, is that the difference between the city’s liabilities and its assets shrunk by $4.1 million in 2013, to $423.8 million. In 2007, the gap was close to $600 million.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb said Thursday’s board vote to lower the pension fund’s projected rate of return was good financially for the city.

The fund’s assumed rate of return was lowered from 8 percent to 7.5 percent after a 5-2 vote led by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's allies. Supporters of Mayor-elect Bill Peduto then accused Ravenstahl of political maneuvering.

Ravenstahl was opposed to lowering the rate during most of his tenure.

When auditors from the Pittsburgh City Controller’s office went to Public Works storage yards this summer, they found some equipment was missing, but they also found equipment that was not on any list.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb said he does not think there was any criminal intent. Instead, he thinks it was just a matter of not properly using the right management systems.

City of Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb released Tuesday a performance audit of the secondary employment procedures utilized by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

The audit is just one part of a larger bureau-wide audit. Lamb said he wanted to release this portion early due the ongoing changes and public interest in secondary employment procedures.

The report takes a hard look at Cost Recovery Fees, or CRFs, which until recently, were not codified in city law.

As part of a series of audits of departments within the city of Pittsburgh, Controller Michael Lamb has released a report on the Bureau of Animal Control. It found that the department’s cash management practices could lead to misappropriation of funds and a lack of ability to detect such a problem.

“Basic record keeping, bookkeeping type problems are what we’ve seen,” Lamb said. “We have not suggested that there’s been theft. What we’re suggesting is that we need a better system of record keeping.”

There are 10 findings total:

The city of Pittsburgh is on track to finish 2013 with a budget surplus, according to the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR) released by Controller Michael Lamb.

The earlier, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), showed the city ended 2012 with a surplus in excess of $20 million. Lamb also gave an update on how the city is doing so far this year.

Citing a national report out this week, Lamb said this year the Pittsburgh region is experiencing moderate growth, while many other parts of the nation are experiencing slower, modest growth.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5/WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb has released an audit of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority — and found a bit of a mixed bag.

First, the good news: Lamb said the Parking Authority is mostly in compliance on their contracts and have good policies and procedures which are largely followed. Plus, revenues are up from 2012 amounts.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb isn't busy minding the city's books, he's reading history and genre fiction. 

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb withdrew from the city's mayoral race Monday and endorsed former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner.

So what does that mean for Lamb's Democratic Party endorsement? Does it fall by the way-side?  Does this mean committee-people are free to publicly back anyone they wish? Pittsburgh City Paper Editor, Chris Potter gives us the details of Lamb's announcement.

Emily Farah / 90.5 WESA

On Thursday more than 100 events, organized by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition, hoped to bring attention to the country's gun violence policies.

Twenty of those events were in Pennsylvania, including one in the Hill District, organized by advocacy group CeaseFirePA.

Under a Michael Lamb administration the Pittsburgh Office of Neighborhood Initiatives would be renamed and have its powers expanded.

Lamb, a Democratic mayoral candidate and current City Controller, announced that if elected he would rename the department the Office of Neighborhood Engagement.

The current Office of Neighbor Initiatives oversees projects like Green Up Pittsburgh, an initiative that works to create green spaces out of vacant lots, and Operation Weed and Seed, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice to improve neighborhood safety.

Six Dems for Pittsburgh Mayor Face-off

Mar 17, 2013
Emily Farah/90.5 WESA

Sparks did not fly but the six remaining Pittsburgh mayoral candidates did begin to outline some of their platform planks Sunday in a forum hosted by the Barack Obama Academy's Youth and Government Club.  It was the first such gathering since candidates had to have their nominating petitions submitted.

All invited candidates attended with the exception of State Senator Jim Ferlo who announced Friday that he was withdrawing from the race. 

  Each participant had a maximum of 60 or 90 seconds to answer the questions posed to them, one by one.

With Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s announcement that he is withdrawing from the campaign, the race for the mayor’s office has, for now, become a two-man contest but neither candidate believes their tactics over the next three months will change much.

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb, who along with Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, is running for the mayor’s office.

Just 11 days after launching his reelection bid, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced he is no longer seeking a second full term. In front of a room packed with reporters, Ravenstahl said he began his political journey ten years ago as an ambitious and determined 23-year-old.

“The city I ran for office to represent in 2003 no longer exists,” he said, “it’s so much different today, it’s evolved into a bigger and better place, it’s become a place that’s recognized as America’s most livable, it’s become better.”

The ongoing investigation into possible business and spending malfeasance in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has uncovered the existence of an account at a local credit union that might have been used to hide spending from public scrutiny.  Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb has sent a request to the Mayor’s office asking for receipts supporting all transaction involving the account.