Peduto puts a premium on planning

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Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto's vision to remake city government took shape Monday, as he and his transition chief began to lay out plans to overhaul some city departments.

At a lengthy budget hearing before city council, transition chief Kevin Acklin, who will be Mr. Peduto's chief of staff, detailed proposals to create a new office within the finance department and to beef up staff in the planning department.

More changes will be laid out at this week's three additional budget hearings. In about two weeks, the proposed changes will be officially offered as budget amendments. Changes to the city's authorities will be proposed next year, Mr. Peduto said.

The most dramatic change proposed by Mr. Peduto Monday is the creation of an office of management and budget, to be carved out of the city's finance department.

Mr. Peduto also proposes slashing the director's salary by around $8,000 to $101,000, and cutting a vacant revenue analyst position and an assistant director position. In all, the moves would save the city around $48,000.

The budgeting responsibilities, which have been handled by the finance department in years past, would be handled by the newly created office. The proposed changes reflect Mr. Peduto's push to implement an "outcome-based, performance budgeting model" that would continually measure a department's performance and use that information to determine how much money it gets.

"You measure on a continual basis to make sure the department is meeting its mission and determine whether money should be cut or increased to ensure that it's being done effectively," he said. "It basically looks at how we're spending money and whether we're hitting the three Es: efficiency, effectiveness and whether or not it's equitable."

Mr. Peduto also is planning to beef up the city planning department, adding nine positions, including six community liaisons whose job it will be to build relationships within neighborhoods. He's also planning to propose the removal of a senior secretary of neighborhood initiatives, eliminating three neighborhood initiatives coordinators and transferring the weed-and-seed site coordinator to the mayor's office.

"We are really beefing up planning," Mr. Peduto said. "What we're looking to do is really add back the ability to work neighborhood by neighborhood and have community liaisons to help to build plans for every neighborhood in the city."

The community liaisons would help the city move towards "community-based models within planning so that people in the community have more of a say in what is being proposed in their own neighborhoods."

Moriah Balingit:, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published December 2, 2013 2:18 PM

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