Rich Fitzgerald

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Rich Fitzgerald (born May 8, 1959) is an American elected official who serves as the 3rd County Executive of Allegheny County. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a member of Allegheny County Council from 2000 until 2011 as the District 11 representative.[1]

Rich Fitzgerald
Chief Executive of Allegheny County
Assumed office
January 3, 2012
Preceded byDan Onorato
Personal details
Born (1959-05-08) May 8, 1959 (age 60)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Cathy Tomasovich Fitzgerald
Children8
ResidencePittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Alma materCentral Catholic High School, Carnegie Mellon University
ProfessionEntrepreneur, politician

Education/Early Career[edit]

The oldest son of Dick and Pat (née Mangold) Fitzgerald, Rich was born at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood. He attended St. Lawrence O’Toole grade school and Central Catholic High School.[2] After high school graduation, Fitzgerald attended Carnegie Mellon University. During college, he paid his tuition by driving a cab for Yellow Cab Company as a member of Teamsters Local 258. He graduated in 1981 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a business minor.

After graduating from Carnegie Mellon, Fitzgerald was unable to find a job in engineering in the region and so moved to Rockford, Illinois to take a job with NALCO Chemical Company as a water treatment chemical sales associate. In the fall of 1982, Fitzgerald returned to Pittsburgh and started a small business which provided water treatment equipment and services for industry in the western Pennsylvania region.[3]

Political career[edit]

Allegheny County Council[edit]

Fitzgerald became the first County Council member for District 11 in January 2000 and held the seat through 2011. From 2004-2011 (eight consecutive terms), he served as the President of Council, elected to the position by his colleagues. During his time on County Council, further row office reform was passed which resulted in the electorate eliminating and consolidating a number of offices and saving taxpayer dollars. Additional legislative initiatives included a Homestead Exemption for property owners and the creation of a Human Relations Commission.

In 2011, Fitzgerald resigned from County Council to run for the office of County Executive (a provision of the Home Rule Charter provides that a person may not run for County Executive while serving as a member of County Council).

Allegheny County Executive[edit]

In the May 2011 Democratic Primary, Fitzgerald faced Mark Patrick Flaherty for the nomination. He received 66,387 votes, or 55.24% of the vote, while Flaherty received 52,802, or 43.94% of the vote.[4]

In the general election, Fitzgerald faced Republican D. Raja and received 142,109 votes, or 61.67% of the vote. Raja received 86,595 or 37.58% of the vote.[5] Fitzgerald was sworn into office as County Executive on January 3, 2012.

Fitzgerald ran for, and won, re-election in November 2015. He was unopposed.

Accomplishments[edit]

Public Transit[edit]

In January 2012, the Port Authority of Allegheny County announced its intent to cut 30% of routes due to funding shortfalls. Such a reduction could kill transit in the region, so Fitzgerald began working with the Port Authority management and Amalgamated Transit Union to reduce costs while also calling upon legislative leaders and Governor Tom Corbett to work cooperatively to ensure funding could be put in place to keep the Port Authority going. In August 2012, Fitzgerald stood with representatives of the Port Authority, the legislature and Governor Corbett to announce that there would be no cuts.[6]

In June 2013, Fitzgerald led a delegation of stakeholders on a visit to Cleveland to see, first-hand, the impact that BRT can have on a community. In other cities, the implementation of BRT has acted as a catalyst for community revitalization. For Pittsburgh, the implementation of BRT could result in positive benefits for the Forbes/Fifth corridor and Uptown neighborhood. The community-driven process also allows citizens and area leaders to be an integral part of the design service and amenities. To date, funding has been allocated for needed studies and planning as Allegheny County, the Port Authority, the City of Pittsburgh and its stakeholders move the project forward.[7]

Job Creation and Business Development[edit]

Creating jobs and encouraging business development in the region has remained a priority and focus for Fitzgerald. On a weekly basis, he makes it a priority to speak to business owners and executives about their needs to grow and be successful in Allegheny County. That promotion extends to organizations that are looking to relocate or locate in our region, with the County Executive taking on the role of salesperson for the region.

The number of jobs in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area grew by 9,200 between March 2016 and March 2017 – a .8% increase.[8]

For startup businesses in Pittsburgh, 2016 was a very good year. Overall investment in startup companies last year in Pittsburgh ballooned 34.6 percent to $376 million from $280 million in 2015, according to a new report by Innovation Works Inc. and Ernst & Young LLP. In addition, venture capital investment rose 8.1 percent last year to $235.1 million from $217.4 million in 2015, bucking a nationwide decline in the funding stream, which is usually among the larger funding sources that are available to startup companies.[9]

The city center, in particular, continues to reflect growth in housing and population, restaurant and retail, culture and entertainment, transportation and connectivity and development as evidenced by the latest Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s State of Downtown.[10] Throughout the county, there is continued investment in developments, neighborhoods and initiatives as evidenced by the 2016 Year in Review.[11]

Not only do businesses do well in Allegheny County, but so do employees who have higher average weekly wages than most benchmark regions. Average weekly wages in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area increased 4.4 percent from $970 in the third quarter of 2015 to $1,013 in the 3rd quarter of 2016.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Rich is married to his college sweetheart, Cathy Tomasovich Fitzgerald, a pharmacist. They reside in Squirrel Hill. The couple has eight children: Jocelyn Fitzgerald, M.D., Erin, Caroline, Tanner, Madeline, Louisa, Mara, and Jackson. All eight of Rich's children attended Penn State University.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "County Executive | Biography of Rich Fitzgerald". www.alleghenycounty.us. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  2. ^ "Rich Fitzgerald". www.alleghenydems.com. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  3. ^ "Biography of Rich Fitzgerald". alleghenycounty.us. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  4. ^ "Allegheny County Primary Election Results May 2011" (PDF).
  5. ^ "Allegheny County General Election November 2011" (PDF).
  6. ^ "$40 million in Pa. transit funding delivered". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  7. ^ "Plan for Bus Rapid Transit system takes next step forward". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  8. ^ "Year-Over-Year Job Growth - Pittsburgh Today". Pittsburgh Today. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  9. ^ "Startup businesses in the Pittsburgh region win over investors". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  10. ^ "Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership State of Downtown 2017" (PDF). Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  11. ^ "Allegheny County Economic Development 2016 Year in Review". Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  12. ^ "Average Weekly Wages - Benchmark Regions - Pittsburgh Today". Pittsburgh Today. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  13. ^ "County Executive | Biography of Rich Fitzgerald". www.alleghenycounty.us. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
Political offices
Preceded by
Dan Onorato
County Executive of Allegheny County
2011-present
Succeeded by