A Pittsburgh City Council meeting held today to coax cooperation from the parking authority instead generated complaints from authority members who resented getting subpoenas compelling their attendance.
Authority board member Linda Judson said two police officers showed up at her law firm to deliver the subpoena, upsetting her partners and the office staff.
Ms. Judson called the subpoena "nothing but politically motivated, self-aggrandizing, theatrical thuggery."
Authority board member Chris D'Addario called the subpoena "unnecessary" and led him to question council's desire to work cooperatively to solve parking-related controversies.
Scott Kunka, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's finance director and the parking authority chairman, called the subpoenas a "blatant abuse of power."
Councilman Bill Peduto said the subpoenas were issued when council proved unable to schedule a meeting with authority members, though authority members said they weren't dragging their feet.
Mr. Ravenstahl "is extremely disappointed at this blatant abuse of power and questions the sanity of the council members who signed the subpoena," mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven said in an email to reporters after the meeting. "The mayor has questioned the validity of the subpoena and has directed his law department to look into a potential violation of the home-rule charter."
In December, council passed a pension bailout plan that diverts more than $735 million in parking tax money from the general budget over 31 years.
To offset the diversion, council raised parking meter rates and demanded that the authority increase the annual subsidy it provides to the city. The authority, so far, has refused to do so.
In April, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, an authority board member, asked the authority board to study a change in the subsidy. Her motion received no second.
The refusal of Ms. Rudiak's colleagues to second her motion was a central topic of discussion at today's post-agenda meeting in council chambers. Ms. Judson, who sparred with Mr. Peduto and Councilman Doug Shields, said she wasn't willing to proceed with a study until she had evidence that Ms. Rudiak's financial estimates were accurate.
Mr. Shields criticized Ms. Judson for complaining about the subpoena instead of answering council's questions.
"You've spent about half an hour telling us how much you don't like us," he said. "Duly noted."
Joe Smydo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1548