University of Pittsburgh
September 13, 2006

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg Comments on the Passing of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor

Pitt Experts Available to Comment on the Shift of Mayoral Power
Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg has issued a statement regarding the death of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor:

"Bob O'Connor was committed, compassionate, courageous, and completely unpretentious. He was beloved for his seemingly effortless ability to connect with people, relate to their problems, and provide a helping hand. Among his many gifts to this region was the reminder, grounded in his own compelling example, that, in addition to a sharp mind, leaders also need a strong will and a good heart."

The following Pitt experts are available to comment on the shift of power in the Mayor's office:

The initial phase with a change in leadership can be a tricky and sometimes challenging endeavor for the incoming person, according to Morton Coleman, director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics (IOP). "Being a mayor is a much more complicated job than being the head of City Council," said Coleman. "One must make decisions on administrative budgets, personnel, and strategy that a City Council president never has to make." Coleman is available to comment on the existing city charter, the challenges ahead for Council President Luke Ravenstahl, the potential impact on city government and the city overall, and what matters most to city personnel and residents during this critical transition of power. Coleman founded the IOP in 1990 as a forum for bringing together public and private decision makers to examine economic, social, and political issues in local, state, and national contexts. Until his retirement, he was a professor in Pitt's School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Before that, he was President and CEO of Greater Hartford Process, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that linked government, business leaders, and neighborhood residents. He also held positions as personal advisor to Henry Ford II on urban issues and Secretary to the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh for Human Resources, Manpower Training, and Poverty Programs. He has lectured on urban issues throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Coleman can be reached at 412-624-1596 (w), 412-687-7463 (h), mc123@pitt.edu, or through Sharon Blake at 412-624-4364 and blake@pitt.edu.

David Miller, interim dean of Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and an expert on regional governance systems, says, "The loss of the Mayor is a tragedy for the city and Bob's many friends and relatives. But looking forward, the presence of the Act 47 Recovery Plan and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Board can serve to stabilize and guide the city in its orderly transition to new leadership." Miller is a member of the National Civic League's 8th edition of the Model City Charter Review Committee and an advisor to the Government Finance Officers Association's Committee on Governmental Budgeting and Management. He is available to discuss the transition in Pittsburgh's government and can be reached at 412-648-7600 (w) and dymiller@pitt.edu, or through Amanda Leff at 412-624-4238 and aleff@pitt.edu.

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09/01/06/scl