Councilman Wilson discusses resolutions for service worker wages, funds for non-profit healthcare providers and economic development projects.
Photo: Office of Councilman Wilson
As City Council enters recess this month, I wanted to share some legislative updates from our office. In last month’s column, I shared a great deal of information about three bills that I had introduced to protect reproductive freedom here in the City of Pittsburgh. I am proud that all these bills passed unanimously during Council’s final session before recess.
During this session, I also passed two other resolutions. The first resolution directs Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb to perform an audit of the City of Pittsburgh and related intergovernmental authorities’ compliance with the Service Worker Prevailing Wage Ordinance of 2010. City Council passed this ordinance in response to the concern that when private developers were executing publicly financed projects in our city, they were paying substantially lower wages to service workers on these projects than to workers on privately financed projects. In the twelve years since the passage of this ordinance, it has become clear that neither the City of Pittsburgh nor its related intergovernmental authorities possess or maintain a comprehensive list of contracts or projects covered by this ordinance. It has also become clear that neither the City nor these authorities consistently enforce the payment of a prevailing wage to workers covered by this ordinance. Finally, neither the City nor any of the authorities compel covered employers to provide annual payroll data, as required by the ordinance, provide any ongoing reporting on the number of service workers who have benefited from the existence and enforcement of this ordinance, or track job creation and job quality data for publicly subsidized developments. I firmly believe that public dollars should not subsidize poverty wages. Service workers in Pittsburgh work hard and should be earning a fair living wage. I am optimistic that this audit will help us determine the degree of City’s compliance with this ordinance and provide recommendations on how to ensure that our service workers make a fair living wage.
The second resolution allocates funds to the North Side Christian Health Center for a new elevator. The North Side Christian Health Center is a federally qualified nonprofit community medical practice that seeks to provide affordable whole-person primary health care to underserved persons on the Northside. A few months ago, I toured their facility and learned that they needed a new elevator. I worked with the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to allocate $90,000 so that this organization can install a new elevator.
I also want to announce that the City of Pittsburgh has opened the newest round of applications for Neighborhood Economic Development (NED) grants. These grants are funded by HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and are intended for non-profit organizations serving low-income Pittsburgh neighborhoods that are undertaking economic development projects. I would like to invite all eligible community and neighborhood organizations on the Northside to take advantage of this resource. NED grant application and program details are available online at https://engage.pittsburghpa.gov/2022-NED-Grant. The application window is open now and will close on Friday, August 26, 2022. If you have more questions, please contact OMB’s Office of Community Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (412) 255-2227.
Many of you are already aware of the passing of Jay Poliziani in early July. I want to take a moment in this column to remember and honor him. Jay was a fierce and dedicated ally and advocate for society’s most vulnerable, and a longtime director of the Northside Common Ministries. He worked tirelessly to make a safe space for people of all religions, creeds, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. Jay recognized the humanity and inherent dignity in every person, made it easy for volunteers to be a part of his helping communities, was firmly embedded in the LGBTQ community, and worked subtly and tirelessly for political rights, social progress, and equal justice. During Council’s last session, I introduced a proclamation in his honor declaring his birthday this year, Saturday August 13, 2002, “Jay Poliziani Day” here in our city.
Finally, I would like to share with all of you that Mohammed Burny is now serving District 1 as my new Chief of Staff. Mohammed has been my Legislative Aide since I took office in January 2020 and is well-versed in the legislative agenda of the Northside. If you would like to discuss any legislative or scheduling matters, please contact him directly at email@example.com. I would also like to thank Sally Stadelman for her years of service to the City of Pittsburgh and for the two and a half years she served District 1 as my first Chief of Staff. Her deep knowledge of our city’s government has been invaluable to our office during her time here, and I look forward to seeing the great things she will do next for the people of our city.
If you have any thoughts about any of these updates, please feel free to call us at (412) 255-2135, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you.
COUNCILMAN, DISTRICT 1