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City of Pittsburgh

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Pittsburgh City Controller

Term: 4 years
Salary: $77,228
Duties: Audits all city funds. Conducts performance audits of all agencies, trusts and council at least once every 4 years. Position shared with the Pittsburgh Schools, which pays $15,255 of salary.
Question: What are the important problems of Pittsburgh that the city controller can address?


Tom Flaherty, 52, Shadyside

Education: Central Catholic High School; Duquesne University, B.A.; Duquesne University School of Law, J.D.

Occupation: Pittsburgh city controller.

Qualifications: Two-term Pennsylvania state representative. One-term City Council member. Current city controller. Conducted over 200 fiscal and performance audits. Consistently awarded National Annual Certificate of Excellence for Accounting and Financial Reporting.

Answer: The public, bond rating agencies, financial institutions and elected officials depend on the city controller for independent, accurate, objective information on the city's fiscal position. As Pittsburgh invests heavily in regional economic development, while facing a structural deficit, the city controller's office, through performance and fiscal audits, must make sure the city retains the ability to deliver core municipal services (police, fire, EMS protection, snow removal, refuse pick-up, parks, recreation) to its residents and taxpayers.


No candidate filed.


Online Map:

Pittsburgh City Council Districts


Term: 4 years
Salary: $53,687
Duties: Council consists of nine members elected by district by the city of Pittsburgh voters. The legislative power is vested in the council. Council members in odd-numbered districts are elected in 2003.
Question: Do your support merging some services with the county and if so, what are they?



Barbara A. Burns, 54, North Side

Education: Chatham College, B.A. in communications with minor in political science, 1982.

Occupation: Pittsburgh city councilwoman.

Qualifications: I have served one term on city council. Before that, I served as state representative, 1993-94. I also served on the Pittsburgh School Board for 10 years, five years as president. I served more than 25 years as a community revitalization leader on the North Side and citywide.

Answer: I support merging the economic development functions of the city and the county. Our city and the region lack a coherent economic development message. Merging these functions would enable the city and the county to better serve existing businesses and attract new businesses, providing much-needed jobs and development to the region. In merging these functions, we also have an opportunity to eliminate duplicative agencies and simplify development for businesses.

Luke Ravenstahl, 23, Perry North

Education: North Catholic High School; Washington and Jefferson College.

Occupation: Employed by Worldwide Express as an account manager.

Qualifications: I feel my business administration degree from a well-respected institution combined with my community involvement in local politics makes me a viable candidate for Pittsburgh City Council.

Answer: Before any service is merged, I would first analyze the condition of the current model. After careful review, if any service would benefit by merging, I would consider it as long as it is in the best interest of the residents of the city of Pittsburgh. I am against any merger that will not directly benefit city residents, especially if hard-working employees are forced to lose their jobs.


No candidate filed.

District 3


Gene Ricciardi, 49, South Side

Education: University of Pittsburgh, master of urban and regional planning 1979; Duquesne University, B.A.

Occupation: Member of Pittsburgh City Council. Former county planner, Allegheny County.

Qualifications: Pittsburgh District 3 city councilman since January 1990; 13 years of in-depth working knowledge on how to make city government work for city residents.

Answer: Sharing services with Allegheny County and other municipalities can greatly benefit taxpayers. I support sharing the following services: emergency operations, police investigations, purchasing, snow and ice removal, mailing services and economic development and planning initiatives. Also, I support continuing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) joint city-county committee, merging our Geographic Information System files and continuing the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board.


No candidate filed.

District 5


William F. Smith, 48, Greenfield

Education: Graduate of Central Catholic High School and Community College of Allegheny County with an associate's degree in business administration; accumulated credits at Duquesne University.

Occupation: Executive director of the Greenfield Organization, a nonprofit community service organization.

Qualifications: Thirty years' experience working with federal, state and city governments to obtain and implement needed projects and services.

Answer: I fully support merging some City of Pittsburgh services with Allegheny County. Such an initiative would be more cost-effective and produce significant savings for both entities. Among the services I would give consideration to combining are employee health insurance, computer services, purchasing road salt and supplies, record storage, sharing paint shops and fleet management. Additionally, I would support the merger of 911 emergency call centers as long as it does not compromise public safety.

Tom Tucker Sciulli, 40, Greenfield

Education: Central Catholic High School, University of Pittsburgh.

Occupation: Executive assistant, prothonotary.

Qualifications: Endorsed Democratic candidate, special election City Council; lifelong resident of city; board member of the Greenfield Organization; 20 years' experience in the hospitality industry.

Answer: I am in favor of considering service mergers with the county, if and only if these mergers would actually produce efficiencies. Politics aside, merger proposals have to meet strict practical tests. Will they save money? Will they maintain safe, effective levels of service? Pittsburgh and Allegheny County government have very limited overlap. So while I favor saving money by merging services where that is economical, mergers are not the solution to the city's fiscal problems.

Doug Shields, 49, Squirrel Hill

Education: Paralegal, Community College of Allegheny County.

Occupation: Chief of staff, Councilman Bob O'Connor.

Qualifications: Eleven years working in council provides me the needed experience to serve effectively. I'm skilled in legislative, budgeting and constituent service. I'm responsible for shaping policy and meeting the needs of the district. I serve on nonprofit boards that effect neighborhood and regional economic development.

Answer: Yes, it benefits the taxpayer! Joint purchasing of basic goods such as office supplies, copiers, computers, road salt, vehicles, provide economies of scale. Bond financing of developments involving city-county should also be included. We can streamline the property assessment system with any eye toward accuracy and the collection and refunding of property taxes. Recreation and senior citizen services can also be enhanced while lessening costs. We can do more and lessen the cost of government.

Bill Boyle, 44, Hazelwood

Education: St. Stephen School, 1964-72; Central Catholic, 1972-76; Robert Morris College, 1976-78.

Occupation: Customer service representative, United American Savings Bank.

Qualifications: I want to make my district and my city better.

Answer: I think we should combine public works and 911 service.


Daniel Wiseman, 39, Squirrel Hill

Education: Colgate University, B.A., history, 1985; Brandeis University, M.A., Jewish Communal Service, 1998.

Occupation: Nonprofit administration; director of development, Kollel Jewish Learning Center.

Qualifications: American.

Answer:I support a full-scale review in the way the city of Pittsburgh does business. There is a fiscal crisis in Pittsburgh because of the unreasonable tax climate and the runaway spending by the city. The city of Pittsburgh cannot spend its way into prosperity. We need private sector solutions that will bring investment back into the city.

District 7


Len Bodack, 46, Lawrenceville

Education: Central Catholic High School; Point Park College.

Occupation: City councilman.

Qualifications: Lifelong resident of District 7, born into a family that always placed a high value on public service. Involved for many years as a volunteer helping seniors. My wife, Sharon, and I are raising our three children, totally committed to a future of opportunity for Pittsburgh.

Answer: I would consider supporting a merger of services between the city and county only if it can be proven that it will actually save money. Furthermore, it must be proven that it will cause no degradation in response time or service to the city, especially where public safety is concerned.

Mitch Kates, 38, Highland Park

Education: Western New England College, B.A., history and sociology, 1986.

Occupation: Owner, Bluetree Gallery.

Qualifications: President, Highland Park Community Club (former); board member, East Liberty Development Inc. (former); assistant wrestling coach, Schenley High School, 1992-96; President, Homewood Montessori PTO (current); Democratic Party campaign volunteer.

Answer: City of Pittsburgh taxpayers pay more than twice as much in taxes than our suburban neighbors. Any way we can make government more efficient by consolidating duplicative services should be examined. Given current homeland security risks, I believe we should examine combining some of the city and county public safety tasks together to ensure that we are as secure as possible.

Nancy Noszka, 43, Morningside

Education: Master's in public management, with honors, Carnegie Mellon University, 1986-89; B.S. in education, summa cum laude, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1979-82.

Occupation: Northwood Realty Services, sales executive.

Qualifications: 14 years nonprofit leadership: commercial, residential development; Lawrenceville Family Support; senior citizen outreach; neighborhood greening; Lawrenceville Riverfront Trail. Vast knowledge of public and private programs, business and residential issues, capital expansion needs, population demographics.

Answer: Mergers resulting from financial constraints will not always yield an increase in the level or quality of the public service being delivered. Mergers have become political footballs yielding nothing but unhealthy criticism and plays for power. I would support merging aimed at regional growth such as economic development, housing, senior outreach and human services, infrastructure and parks and recreation. Merger criteria must be in the best interest of residents, public employees and the region.


No candidate filed.

District 9


Twanda D. Carlisle, 43, Homewood

Education: Peabody High School; Point Park College.

Occupation: City councilwoman, District 9.

Qualifications: Worked in City Council office under two council persons; the late Duane A. Darkins and Valerie McDonald Roberts. Elected March 5, 2002, to fill unexpired term.

Answer: We would have to carefully look at all the services both the city and county provide as well as the budget for both city and county to determine which would be most effective for all.

Judith K. Ginyard, 44, Lincoln-Lemington

Education: Secondary education from Community College of Allegheny County and Point Park.

Occupation: Executive director of nonprofit agency.

Qualifications: An extensive background in community housing and economic development; managerial accounting, business finance and tax preparation; expertise in grant writing, fund raising and program development; a licensed Realtor; development of youth and adult job training and employment programs.

Answer: In order for government to run effectively while being fiscally responsible, it may be necessary to reduce the debt service of some public services such as police, fire, emergency medicine and 911 by consolidation. As an elected official, it's my responsibility to examine where fiscal reduction can occur while maintaining these services effectively. While this is a difficult decision, I would support the merger of public services that wouldn't have an adverse effect on my constituents.


No candidate filed.


District 5
(Vote for one)
(To fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Councilman Bob O'Connor)
The names of the candidates appear on the referendum TOP row of the voting machine. All registered voters, regardless of whether they are enrolled members of a political party, are entitled to vote in the special election.

Term: 7 months
Salary: $53,687


Tom Tucker Sciulli, 40, Greenfield -- see above


Daniel Wiseman, 39, Squirrel Hill -- see above

Pittsburgh School Board

Online Map:

Pittsburgh School Board districts


(Vote for one in your party and district)
Term: 4 years
Salary: $0
Duties: The Board of School Directors has the responsibility to establish and equip, furnish and maintain a sufficient number of public schools and to adopt a budget and levy and collect necessary taxes. The school district of the city of Pittsburgh includes Mount Oliver. In 2003, directors for even numbered districts will be elected. Candidates are permitted to cross-file.
Question: How would you improve the quality of education given the current fiscal restraints and declining enrollment?

District 2


Patrick Dowd, 35, Highland Park

Education: University of Missouri, B.A. 1990; University of Pittsburgh, M.A. 1992, Ph.D. 1999.

Occupation: Teacher.

Qualifications: I am a parent with two children in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. For 12 years, I have taught history and economics at the high school and college levels. I have studied education systems and advocated for improving public education. I am training at the Institute for Community Leadership in Education.

Answer: The Pittsburgh Public Schools must have new leadership. The school board must focus its energies on student achievement and guarantee that all students are gaining proficiency in reading and mathematics, especially in light of the No Child Left Behind Act. The school board must more carefully spend taxpayer dollars. With more professional leadership, the school board can improve the quality of education and attract students to a world-class education system.

Darlene M. Harris, 50, Spring Hill

Education: Perry High School graduate; Median School of Allied Health Careers.

Occupation: Homemaker.

Qualifications: Mother of three. Eight years of hands-on experience with Pittsburgh School Board. Currently board president. Extensive knowledge acquired as chair, Business/Finance Committee. Active in school and community service for over 25 years.

Answer: I will continue to support proficiency in the 3 Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Additionally, a more effective assessment system for student achievement and a higher level of accountability from the top down are needed. The financial security and stability of the school district will improve if we continue on the path traveled in 2002-2003. We managed to reduce millions of dollars from the proposed budget and I believe we can streamline more with the goal of reducing taxes.

District 4


William Isler, 56, Squirrel Hill

Education: B.A., English, Saint Vincent College.

Occupation: President, Family Communications Inc.

Qualifications: Classroom teaching experience; seven years working in the Pennsylvania Department of Education as senior adviser for early childhood education, Commissioner for Basic Education.

Answer: Research is clear that investment in early learning will provide the foundation for later school success. I will work to prioritize district spending and take advantage of new state initiatives that target our at-risk children with Head Start, pre-kindergarten and reduced class size in the elementary years, all cost-effective, proven methods for improving student achievement. I will work with parents and community groups to gain support for high standards and expectations and improved achievement for all students.

District 6


Daniel Romaniello, 47, Brookline

Education: Graduate Carrick High; completed courses to become a certified instructor for Department of Transportation; completed courses for steward training & problem resolution.

Occupation: Tunnel maintainer, Pittsburgh tunnels, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Qualifications: My years of volunteering to serve on many community and church organizations as well as problem and conflict-solving training have helped me work with many kinds of people in many kinds of offices to get the job done.

Answer: The board needs to be proactive in working with state and local governments in making sure they provide more money for education. The board must put pressure on the governor and the state House and Senate publicly for more funds. The board must also look at all areas to cut costs and be able to cross all boundaries and have no sacred cows. The problem of declining enrollment can be addressed by the board becoming more professional and less of an embarrassment.

Eileen Papale, 49, Brookline

Education: B.A., University of Pittsburgh.

Occupation: Engineering technician/survey specialist, City of Pittsburgh, 22 years.

Qualifications: Total commitment to public education. Served on many committees and task forces for the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Possess a thorough understanding of the time, energy, and responsibility required to be an effective board member. Volunteer in the schools and have worked on site-based budgeting.

Answer: We need to enhance our support of the basic skills to insure that all students have the ability to read, write and understand basic math. This sound base will prepare our students for the transition from elementary to middle and high school. I believe we need to make sure that all dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. The budget must again be reduced in order to provide a reduction in the excessive property tax.

Jacob Minsinger, 77, Westwood

Education: I have degrees and educational certificates from the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University and Bank Street College.

Occupation: Retired teacher and administrator, Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Qualifications: I am a product of the Pittsburgh Public Schools; I have served as a teacher and administrator in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for more than 50 years.

Answer: I believe that the problems and challenges of the current board could be addressed in positive and creative ways with the addition of a lifelong professional educator dedicated to all children who attend the Pittsburgh Public Schools. My lifetime commitment to educating children has given me a thorough knowledge base and understanding of "best practices" in instruction, budget management and, most importantly, cultivating healthy interpersonal relationships.

District 8


Alan Perry, 57, North Side

Education: Licensed insurance broker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; private pilot license with Grumman America Flying Center.

Occupation: Business owner.

Qualifications: Extensive background in finance and budgeting. Hands-on experience with youth. Served on many nonprofit boards. Strong communication and mediation skills.

Answer: I believe academic excellence in the higher grades is dependent upon a solid elementary education. Although there are fiscal restraints, there is a need to pay close attention to parent involvement and early childhood education. As an independent businessman, my experience has taught me that we must listen to the concerns of our youth and people we serve. If we demonstrate a genuine awareness of our youth and parents, they will respond in the form of positive achievement and enthusiasm for involvement.

Mark A. Brentley, Sr., 46, North Side

Education: Perry High School 1975; Community College of Allegheny County, 1993.

Occupation: Laborer, City of Pittsburgh, Public Works Department.

Qualifications: For the past 18 years I have volunteered with the following organizations: Parent Teacher Organization, Parent School Community Council, and served as a parent representative at Northview Elementary, Frick International Studies Academy and Perry Traditional Academy. I am the endorsed Democratic candidate.

Answer: I would improve the quality of education by simply staying the course. I believe that in the last two and one-half years the district has been on the right track. We have the Literacy Plus program, reading coaches, after-school mentoring for low achieving schools, the state-of-the-art technology plan. We must surround the superintendent with a board that is 100 percent behind improving the academic achievement of all students. And the last, most important challenge is to close the racial achievement gap.

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