"and even though I love these boots, this fashion's getting old..."
Two days ago, while discovering that City Controller Michael Lamb initiated a broad audit of the Police Bureau only eleven days ago, we also learn that...
Other communications between top controller's office officials and top police brass show that auditors launched a review of the police Premium Pay Account on Feb. 8 by emailing bureau personnel and finance manager Sandra J. Ganster. On Feb. 9, Ms. Ganster brought her concerns about the alleged diversion of funds meant for that account to public safety director Michael Huss, her attorney has said. (P-G, Lord & Balingit)
The Controller's e-mail to Ganster came a couple weeks following the January whistleblowing memo from within the department mentioning Ganster as a recipient of questionably accounted-for funds began circulating.
|Mayor's photo gallery|
Even still, Lamb has been more interested in making a case that the Finance Dept appears to have been complicit in the continuing advantage-taking.
Were both city Departments at fault? Something in the middle? Where do the Finance Dept. and the Public Safety Dept. intersect?
The audit, though, identified problems with an authority anti-drug effort and with a now-defunct contract under which constable-trained guards patrolled low-income communities, Mr. Lamb said.
"I think they went about providing us with the minimum information they could," Mr. Lamb said. "We'll turn it over to the DA, see if they want to pursue it and see if they want to pursue the information we didn't get using subpoena power." He emphasized that he found no evidence of criminality. (P-G, Rich Lord II)
One cannot mention turning an audit over to prosecutors in the same breath as complaining about a lack of forthcoming information without meaning to make pretty clear one smells something fishy.
The contract with private company Victory Security sounds like a disaster, and even if it wasn't fishy it furnished public housing residents with "separate but equal" protection. No word yet on when and how the Police Bureau will "come to terms" on providing security.
|Burgess, Dist. 9|
At any rate, now there are potential concerns in the area where the Housing Authority intersects with the Police Bureau and with urban redevelopment. Wherever that is.
Finally, Michael Lamb today bows out of the Mayor's race, and endorses Jack Wagner, whom Lamb says does a better job having "great relationships" and who demonstrably has a better relationship with the nexus of public safety unions and redevelopment middlemen who were pillars of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's political support.
Hey, there's another curious intersection!
Is it all the same ball of lint, do you suppose?
Could this entire unwholesome intermingling of public safety bigshots being kowtowed and pandered to beyond propriety, a Finance Dept. conspicuously not noticing fraud and abuse therein, private business taking over irritating or especially lucrative Police Officer security work on sweetheart terms, and a redevelopment mindset at the URA and HACP that has been too inbred, conflicted, political and aggressive in the past -- could that Axis of Muck have been directed to re-brand itself with less problems and distractions under the first candidate with a credible and fecklessly applied dowry willing to take possession of it?
And who would have made that call?
And who would have made that call?
When we talk about addressing waste and abuse, are we really just talking about "Mayor's office reform"?
Peduto issued a statement in response to Lamb's endorsement of Wagner that "Pittsburgh needs a strong leader who has demonstrated a real commitment to ending waste, fraud and abuse - someone who has revitalized neighborhoods and secured the city’s finances. We have built a new coalition of people who understand what Pittsburgh can be. I’m looking forward to continuing to earn the support of voters all over the city and working to reach this vision together."
The two remaining candidates in the race, State Sen. Jake Wheatley and A.J. Richardson, both African-Americans, have yet to put forward specific ideas or notions that might allow their candidacies to catch fire. Neither has Jack Wagner of course, but they do not enjoy the same privileges.