|Allegheny County Chief Executive|
January 3, 2000 – January 2, 2004
|Preceded by||Office Created|
|Succeeded by||Dan Onorato|
|Chairperson of the|
Allegheny County Republican Party
|Assumed office |
December 14, 2005
|Preceded by||Bob Glancy|
Asheville, North Carolina
|Alma mater||Texas Christian University|
James C. Roddey (born 1935) is a Pennsylvania businessman and politician best known as the former (and first) chief executive of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, from 2000 to 2004. He is a Republican and was the chair of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County from 2005 until 2016.
Early life and career
Roddey is originally from Asheville, North Carolina. He graduated from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas with a degree in speech. He is a former United States Marine Corps captain, and moved to Pittsburgh in 1979.
Roddey served on the boards of Turner Communication Corp, Rollins Communication Corp, and others. He is the Emeritus Trustee of the University of Pittsburgh and has received three honorary doctorates from various institutions. He was appointed the Port Authority of Allegheny County, of which he became chairman, the Pittsburgh Water Authority, and the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, of which he also because chairman. In 2010, Politics Magazine named him one of the most influential Republicans in Pennsylvania.
Prior to 2000, Allegheny County was governed by a group of three commissioners. In 1998, Roddey was appointed by the commissioners to manage a successful campaign (also initiated by the county commissioners) to replace that system (via a referendum) to a new system composed of a single Chief Executive and a 15-member County Council.
Roddey argued along with the commissioners that this would more evenly distribute representation as the previous system tended to have commissioners predominantly from Pittsburgh, rather than other towns and communities in the county. (Pittsburgh is the county seat and by far the largest population center in the county, but still with only 26% of the county population in the city-proper.)
In 1999, the first election was held for the new Chief Executive and County Council. Roddey won his race against Democrat (and "celebrity" coroner) Cyril Wecht, although Democrats won the majority of the seats on the new Council. This led to friction during his term in office.
During his term, Roddey implemented a property reassessment begun by the former commissioners to reverse the county's financial situation. This increased the value of many homes in the county by 5%-- a legal maximum. This increase in tax revenue was not popular, but it did succeed in creating new operating revenue.
Defeat and subsequent political activity
In 2003, Roddey ran for reelection but lost to Dan Onorato. In interviews, he credits the re-assessments as leading to his decline in popularity. Following his time as Chief Executive, he became an appointed member of Pittsburgh's fiscal oversight board (Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority), but resigned in February 2005. He was elected chair of the Allegheny County Republican Party in 2005. He drew plaudits for a relatively diminished showing for incumbent Democrat Luke Ravenstahl in the 2007 and 2009 Pittsburgh mayoral elections and Tom Corbett's victory in Allegheny County in the 2010 gubernatorial election, but was criticised for a 2012 speech in which he claimed to have jokingly attempted to yield a handicapped parking space to a man because he, "...saw that Obama sticker and thought [he was] mentally retarded." He retired from his position as Party Chair in 2016, having presided over a period of financial stabilization and tripling membership growth for the organization.
- "Roddey takes over as Allegheny County executive". The Gettysbirg Times. January 4, 2000. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
- Roarty, Alex; Sean Coit (January 2010). "Pennsylvania Influencers" (PDF). Politics Magazine. pp. 44–49. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2009.
- Twedt, Steve. "Wexford Health works with inmates." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sunday April 12, 2009. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
- O'Toole, James (March 16, 2012). "GOP had a good day in Pennsylvania". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
- Kiesel, Meghan. "Republican Jokes Obama Supporters 'Mentally Retarded'". Politics Blog. ABC News. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
- The two lives of Jim Roddey, Pittsburgh Business Times. August 28, 1998.
- Roddey leaves lasting impact, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. November 9, 2003.
- James Roddy's entry in the ProgressPittsburgh database
| Chief Executive of Allegheny County
|Party political offices|
| Chairperson of the Allegheny County Republican Party