Saturday, April 01, 2006

Merge -- Movement -- Overlords of a HIGHER order!

Merge the Overlords already.

(Click for an larger view of this 'paper cut.')

(Bonus questions #1: Name the people in the image. Leave your answer in the comments.)

(Bonus question #2: Name the Pittsburgh OVERLORDS of both the I.C.A. and Act 47 -- and put a star next to the ones who should stay as a merged effort, while inserting those who should go onto the new merged Overloard body, myself excluded... of course.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Murray stepping down city's ICA panel

Saturday, April 01, 2006
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The head of a state panel that oversees the City of Pittsburgh's budget announced yesterday that he intends to resign as soon as a replacement is named.

Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Chairman John E. Murray Jr. is the last original member of the 2-year-old, five-seat board. He is also chancellor and professor of law at Duquesne University.

He said in a phone interview that he needs to dedicate his time to proofreading one law text book and writing two others, due this year, and serving on corporate and charitable boards.

"I am busier than I have ever been in my entire life," said the 73-year-old Whitehall resident.

Dr. Murray became chairman of the ICA board in September, following James Smith and William K. Lieberman in that role. He continued the board's policy of pushing for steeper cuts than the city wanted.

"Were it not for [the cuts], I think the city wouldn't have made it through 2004 and 2005," he said. Instead, it finished the latter year with $15 million in the black.

The authority sued the city and the separate, state-appointed Act 47 recovery team a year ago to stop a contract with the firefighters union that it said violated the city's recovery plan. Dr. Murray was instrumental in negotiating an end to that lawsuit and repairing strained relations.

"John's leadership led to a significant increase in the cooperation between the ICA and Act 47," said recovery team co-leader James Roberts. "We're going to miss him."

The authority board rejected Mayor Tom Murphy's proposed 2006 budget last year, but never invoked its power to seize revenue or stop state aid. It accepted a slightly larger, $427.5 million budget from new Mayor Bob O'Connor last month.

Dr. Murray said the ICA's most important contribution may be aiding in the late-2004 passage by the state Legislature of a tax shift that has modestly improved the city's finances. Challenges going forward include shaving Fire Bureau costs and instilling an "efficiency culture" in the city, he said.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that if everything goes as well as it has for the past six months, we'll be on the road to permanent solvency within three years," he said.

In a press release, Gov. Ed Rendell thanked Mr. Murray for his service, and pledged to promptly name a replacement. By staying on until then, Dr. Murray prevents the board from dwindling to two members.

The other members are Barbara McNees and Matthew Simon.

Seats appointed by state House Democrats and Republicans are empty. Spokespersons for House Speaker John Perzel and Minority Leader William DeWeese said they were not ready to name their picks.

(Rich Lord can be reached at or 412-263-1542. )