Allegheny County Council members move to censure committee chair
April 7, 2014 11:40 PM
Allegheny County Councilwoman Heather S. Heidelbaugh
Allegheny County Councilman Bill Robinson
Allegheny County Councilman Michael Finnerty
By Kaitlynn Riely / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A motion to censure a member of Allegheny County Council is on the agenda for council's meeting tonight.
Council members Heather Heidelbaugh, R-Mt. Lebanon, and Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, are sponsoring the motion, which proposes formally reprimanding Councilman Michael Finnerty, D-Scott, for "committing eight separate violations of the Rules of Council and Robert's Rules of Order," the parliamentary guidelines used by council.
The move to censure comes following a meeting of the council's budget and finance committee last month.
Mr. Finnerty, who chairs the committee, said at its March 26 meeting that the committee would not consider legislation introduced by Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner regarding life insurance policies for county retirees, saying it was "illegal" to have Ms. Wagner's resolution on the agenda.
He gaveled the meeting to a close before much discussion could occur, a move that both Ms. Heidelbaugh and Sue Means, R-Bethel Park, protested. Ms. Means said then that she had planned to introduce legislation of her own regarding county retiree life insurance.
"In order to have a transparent government, it is necessary to follow Robert's Rules of Order, and the rule of law," Ms. Heidelbaugh said Monday. "That was not followed."
Ms. Heidelbaugh's motion also calls for council's executive committee to hold a public meeting to determine whether Mr. Finnerty should continue to serve as chair of council's budget and finance committee, and calls on council to deliver a formal written apology to Ms. Wagner.
Mr. Finnerty said Monday morning he was aware of the motion but had not read it, and called it "frivolous."
"I don't think I did anything wrong," he said.
Council President John DeFazio, D-Shaler, who was present at the March 26 budget and finance meeting, said Mr. Finnerty's actions did not violate Robert's Rules of Order.
Council meets at 5 p.m. in the Gold Room at Allegheny County Courthouse.
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707.
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