A letter from the City of Pittsburgh Law Department to new Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, released yesterday, says that his term will extend to November 2009.
The letter is the first document addressing the contentious issue of when Mr. Ravenstahl, who succeeded the late Bob O'Connor Friday night, will face the voters.
Vague and self-contradictory language in the city charter is being interpreted differently, with some lawyers saying that the mayor's office must go on the ballot next year, others saying that the selection can't occur until two years later.
The letter from city attorney Ronald H. Pferdehirt was delivered to Mr. Ravenstahl just before he was sworn in. It officially advises him of Mr. O'Connor's death and says he is in line to serve as mayor until "the municipal election in November 2009."
Lawyers have predicted that the timing of the next mayoral election will likely be the subject of a court fight. Several candidates, including city Councilman William Peduto, are expected to run against Mr. Ravenstahl.