Bob O’Connor Takes Business Approach To Transition

According to today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bob O’Connor has decided to hold off on creating a transition team in favor of a more business-like approach to entering his first term.

“That’s not the way we’re going to operate the city,” Mr. O’Connor said. “Transition teams are nice, but they become very political, who’s on them, who isn’t on them.”

Instead, he has met with city department directors and assistant directors, grilling them on city operations with the help of finance, management and technology professionals drawn from his network of acquaintances.

He has disavowed the machine-gun approach favored by some new administrations. He won’t try to promptly replace all 94 city management personnel and 130 mayor-appointed board members with his own picks, he said.

He has asked for resignation letters from all city directors but said he’ll keep some of them.

“The assistant directors, I’m going to leave in place,” he said. They’ll be evaluated over the early months of next year.

Most current authority board members, too, are safe for the winter, he said.

That could mean a long wait for the 50-odd O’Connor insiders whose names are on a list on the draft room wall, and the 1,200 people who have submitted resumes through his Web site.

Personally this does not surprise me one bit. Having been a part of a few management teams during large-scale corporate mergers/acquisitions I can tell you point blank that the very best approach to handling the potentially massive change that comes with a leadership overhaul is to put everything on the table and review it very carefully before making any moves. What Bob O’Connor is doing therefore should make perfect sense to anyone with a touch of management experience.

If Mr. O’Connor or any of his people are reading this blog (which I seriously doubt) then I have two things to say to them.

First, do not succumb to political pressure to place or retain people simply because of their past service. Your current strategy of looking for the “best and brightest” people to serve this city, regardless of whether they come from the public or private sectors, is brilliant and should pay dividends for the city of Pittsburgh in the long term. Remember, the goal of any successful Mayor, particularly of a city like Pittsburgh which is on the cusp of a serious turnaround, should be the future viability of the city – not political success for the Mayor.

Second, and most important, I am available to work full time for your administration come January 1, 2005 – for a resume, salary requirements, and references email Michael Tedesco at goose3five(at)gmail(dot)com.

Sorry, I could not resist!


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