Pittsburgh hires another member of Democratic Committee

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Another leader of Pittsburgh's Democratic Committee has gone on the city payroll.

Mary Angela Ogg, 62, of Carrick, who chairs the 29th Ward, began work Monday as a confidential secretary in the planning department at an annual salary of about $40,200.

Ms. Ogg filled a vacancy, which was not posted and for which officials did not have to hire from an eligibility list, city personnel director Judy Hill Finegan said. Ms. Hill Finegan said Ms. Ogg has a college degree, has done master's degree work and has a "significant work history," but not in the secretarial field.

Asked whether her role as a ward chair helped her secure the position, Ms. Ogg said, "Absolutely not."

After many years as a teacher, she said, "I just felt at this time in my life I wanted a change, and I love the city of Pittsburgh, and I love what's going on" in the city.

Ward chairs play an important role in electing city officials. Ms. Ogg said she always supports candidates endorsed by the Democratic Committee.

Ms. Ogg is one of several ward chairs who has joined the city or city authority workforces under the current or previous administrations. The list includes Dennis James, Jeff Koch, John Klinger and Robert Palmosina in public works; Ron Deutsch in Citiparks; and Len Bodack and Tonya Payne, both former city council members, at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

City council President Darlene Harris also is a ward chair.

Ms. Ogg, who worked in Diocese of Pittsburgh schools for 15 years, said she applied for the at-will planning department position and was interviewed for it.

Ms. Hill Finegan said Ms. Ogg passed a criminal background check and a check to see whether she's current on real estate taxes. She said the planning department interviewed at least two other people for the position.

Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said she did not know of any involvement by the mayor or his senior staff in Ms. Ogg's hiring. Ms. Hill Finegan and Ms. Ogg said they did not know of any mayor's office involvement, either.

Ms. Hill Finegan said department directors, such as planning director Noor Ismail, generally have considerable latitude in filling confidential secretary positions. Ms. Ismail declined comment.


Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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