BE THERE. That’s the message of an initiative to improve school attendance and teach students to be punctual. Under the banner of the United Way of Allegheny County and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, nine school districts — Carlynton, Sto-Rox, Chartiers Valley, Pittsburgh, Duquesne, Elizabeth-Forward, McKeesport, Wilkinsburg and Woodland Hills — have pledged to combat truancy. It’s a serious matter yet, at Pittsburgh’s Beechwood PreK-5 for example, the program takes the form of a celebration. Students are rewarded with lunchtime parties, mascot visits, buttons and T-shirts, with fun reinforcing the importance of getting to school on time, every time.
SHOWING UP is only the start on the road to success. Hard work, meticulous attention to detail, professionalism and a calm demeanor create exemplary employees, and no one personified those positive traits more than Pittsburgh’s long-time city clerk, Linda Johnson-Wasler. She was among the 65 workers who took a buyout and retired on March 14. Ms. Johnson-Wasler had worked her way up the chain in city hall for more than a decade before taking the clerk’s seat, just below the council president’s podium. There, she used her encyclopedic knowledge of procedures and precedent to calmly settle disagreements among council members and keep the wheels of government turning. As proof that hard work can be its own reward, Ms. Johnson-Wasler said, “I’ve never had a bad day.”
AT THE OTHER END of the employee spectrum, Luke Ravenstahl, who left the mayor’s office in January, keeps having bad days. The latest questions about his activities are due to his decision to take his city computer when he departed, although he returned it a few days later. His attorney offered a perplexing explanation, that the former mayor took it because he did not trust the incoming Peduto administration. That head-scratching subject now is in the hands of the FBI, which also was notified about some office memorabilia that cannot be located. Here’s hoping the youths of Pittsburgh are diligent in attending school and, as adults on the job, follow the path of Ms. Johnson-Wasler instead of Mr. Ravenstahl.