DeFazio appoints panel chairs on Allegheny County Council

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It's January, and as the U.S. Olympic Committee picks players to compete in Sochi, Allegheny County Council is fielding teams of its own.

On Friday, council President John DeFazio, D-Shaler, released 2014's roster of council committees, launching two new committees targeting education and marketing. And while it can't compete in excitement with the slow-motion appointment of players to U.S. Olympic teams, it was highly anticipated among council members, who rely on debate in committees to make their mark.

Former council President Charles Martoni, D-Swissvale, will head the new education committee, bringing to bear his experience as president of the Community College of Allegheny County's Boyce campus. Leadership of the marketing committee will go to Ed Kress, R-Shaler, who has preached the importance of new revenue sources and submitted previous proposals to sell naming rights to county property.

"He wants to try and bring in more money to the county," Mr. DeFazio said. "I said, OK, let's try it."

Many committees stayed mostly the same, with newly elected council members filling seats vacated by departing colleagues. Jan Rea, R-McCandless, will take over for Mr. DeFazio on the appointment committee, which vets candidates for county boards and authorities.

The council president said he was able to accommodate all of his fellow council member's requests for committee placements, where most debate takes place.

That might not include Councilman Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, who lost his chairmanship of the finance committee last year amid a stalled budget. Heading the committee is considered a key position, allowing its bearer to set the tone for the county's budget season.

He was replaced with Michael Finnerty, D-Scott; Mr. Finnerty will stay on as finance chairman in 2014. Mr. DeFazio said he never received any committee requests from Mr. Robinson.

"He didn't ask for anything," Mr. DeFazio said. "Nothing."

Andrew McGill: or 412-263-1497.

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