Saturday, August 12, 2006

Succession Order

I won't delve too much into this one, based as it is in Pennsylvania law and a city code I don't have in front of me, but Pittsburgh seems to have the foundation of a fight over who is in charge well in hand. Unlike NY, maybe the elected officials (and unelected officials) will act like adults and it won't devolve into squabbling.

As a student of municipal law, however, the situation poses an intriguing scenario to ponder. Certainly, you want a deputy to take over in the absence of the elected executive. Having that deputy come from the higher reaches of the executive branch makes sense, too, until you end up with a situation where you have an unelected person with undefined powers in the role for a significant length of time. The alternative is to promote the next-in-line, which tends to be a city council president or the like--but then there's a learning curve in shifting from the legislative role to the day-to-day executive role. As well, the new mayor isn't elected at large, which can also be an issue, and there's always the issue of if/when the elected mayor can resume duties. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in Pitt.


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