Address 'protocol' causes stir in city

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Recommendations for new street names and addresses should be presented to Pittsburgh City Council through legislation, not the less-formal process that drew a complaint from Councilman Bill Peduto last month, the city law department said.

Mr. Peduto sought the legal opinion after he and Raymond DeMichiei, deputy director of the city Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, exchanged testy emails on the subject.

Mr. DeMichiei works with the Address Committee, a group of public works, public safety and planning officials responsible for recommending new street names, proposing property addresses and handling address-related conflicts.

After the committee's monthly meeting, Mr. DeMichiei emails the minutes to council members and other officials. By sending the emails, Mr. DeMichiei said he complied with a city law requiring that the committee's recommendations be transmitted in writing to council and the city clerk.

Mr. Peduto insisted that a more formal process is required. In an opinion Friday, the law department agreed.

"At this juncture, our advice is that council request that the Address Committee begin sending all recommendations to the body in formal bill form," associate city solicitor Yvonne S. Hilton said.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's office said the Address Committee will abide by the legal opinion. In a statement, Mr. Peduto said, "We have rules that we are obligated to follow. When we break the rules of procedure, we begin a process that is legally flawed."

At issue is Mr. Peduto's desire for council to have the opportunity to act on the recommendations and give the public an opportunity to comment.

Under city law, the recommendations become permanent if council doesn't act on them in 45 days. If it wishes, council may request that some or all of the previous changes be brought forward for a vote, Ms. Hilton said.

Joe Smydo: or 412-263-1548.


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