Editorial: Peduto to focus on people’s voice

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

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Mayor-elect Bill Peduto is wasting no time: As of yesterday, he is fielding applications from residents of Pittsburgh to join eight transition teams that his administration has organized in an attempt to become more knowledgeable of what Pittsburghers want to see when the new mayor is sworn in come January.

Each transition team focuses on one of eight key policy areas, including: economic development; innovation and performance; administration and finance; housing and urban development; operations and infrastructure; education and neighborhood investment; public safety, and law and ethics. Each team is headed by one of the members of Peduto’s cabinet, with Peduto himself heading the public safety transition team.

“Consistent with my long-held vision to open up city government to the public, I invite all city residents to apply to join our transition teams and become a direct part of building a new Pittsburgh,” Peduto said in a statement.

Peduto’s commitment to involving residents of Pittsburgh in the city’s government is welcomed. Residents of the city should have the opportunity to voice their concerns and recommend what they want Pittsburgh to be. Through this transition team system, an increased sense of representation is both visible and praised.

Yet, Peduto’s administration has to make the conscious effort to formulate teams that encompass the most adequate representation of the demographics in Pittsburgh. It is essential each team strives to represent all of Pittsburgh to exemplify a more comprehensive array of viewpoints. What the administration should not do is resort to selecting individuals with certain credentials or expertise that undermine the voice of other demographics and minorities. If Peduto is committed to building a better Pittsburgh, it’s crucial to have diversity on each transition team.

Applications are currently being accepted until Nov. 18 at 5 p.m. Peduto’s administration will notify applicants of admission decisions by Nov. 22. The chosen applicants will start work immediately. The teams will work until Dec. 31, with recommendations from each contingent reported directly to Peduto by his cabinet.

“We are intentionally setting a Dec. 31 deadline to focus … on addressing critical issues … so that we can hit the ground running to serve the public in January,” noted Kevin Acklin, Peduto’s chief of staff, in the statement.

If Peduto’s diverse executive team is any sign of his efforts to diversify Pittsburgh’s government, these transition teams should exemplify results that ensure a governing body that is truly representative of Pittsburgh.

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