Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued an executive order Thursday to write new rules about which city employees get their hands on the highly coveted unrestricted parking passes, which allow them to park in metered spaces and city lots for free.
According to his office, 189 city and authority employees and three Allegheny County employees received the passes under the previous administration, which are only supposed to be used for city business. Another 79 employees received the less liberal "restricted" passes, which confer similar benefits but cannot be used in Downtown or Uptown during certain business hours.
The list included several people who have since left the administration. Some of the parking passes expired at the end of 2013.
In his executive order, Mr. Peduto sketched out plans to curtail the use of the prized passes. He said he would restrict them to "employees of the city and of authorities whose positions require substantial travel related to their normal work duties." He also directed chief operations officer Guy Costa to write new rules on the matter and to take stock of exactly how many passes are out there.
Mr. Peduto also plans to issue an executive order reducing the number of employees with take-home vehicles, said Kevin Acklin, Mr. Peduto's chief of staff.
The passes allow employees to park in any city lot or at any metered space without paying. They're supposed to be used only when the city employee is on official business, but two years ago, officials acknowledged that some of the pass-holders may be abusing them and that enforcement was lax or nonexistent.
Since 2011, the number of passes has ballooned from 235 to 271. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority alone had 52 passes, the most of any department.
Mr. Acklin said the number of passes would likely be whittled down to about 30 or the program could be scrapped altogether. He estimated the use of the passes cost the city about a million dollars annually, assuming the passes are used in metered space Downtown -- which costs about $3 an hour.
"The number of employees who receive these unrestricted parking passes has exploded in the past several years and it's past time to rein it in," Mr. Peduto said.
Mr. Acklin said the administration believes the passes were handed without legitimate reasons and that there are several people holding desk jobs who have them.
"Our assumption was that they were handed out like candy for reasons other than related to travel," he said.
Moriah Balingit: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee. First Published January 23, 2014 4:00 PM