Allegheny Co. Exec. Rich Fitzgerald vetoes minimum wage hike for county employees

Fitzgerald said his motivation is not to thwart income growth for employees but to underscore powers that are reserved exclusively for the administration

By: - June 14, 2023 9:21 am

Outgoing Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh City Paper photo).

By Jamie Wiggan

PITTSBURGH —  Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has vetoed a recent Allegheny County County Council bill that would establish a new minimum wage schedule for all county employees.

The bill, passed last week by a 10-4 majority, sets out a series of incremental wage hikes that would guarantee all workers make at least $20 per hour by 2026. Salaried workers would similarly earn at least $41,600 annually, calculated at $20 per hour over 40-hour work weeks.

In a Tuesday statement announcing his veto,  Fitzgerald said his motivation is not to thwart income growth for employees but to underscore powers he says are reserved exclusively for administration.

“If council believes that the Home Rule Charter’s language giving legal authority to the chief executive and the county manager to set wage rates through the hiring process and collective bargaining should be changed, it cannot do so legislatively,” Fitzgerald said. “Council instead must follow applicable law and propose a charter amendment to the voters of Allegheny County for consideration. This effort attempts to undermine the structure of the government that voters put in place, altering the structure, nature, and operations of the current form of home rule government.”

Council can override Fitzgerald with a two-thirds majority vote, which its members can summon if none of the bill’s 10 original supporters switch their allegiance.

Council President Pat Catena — a Democrat who voted for the bill last week— did not immediately return a call inquiring about the status of the votes and any plans to override the veto.

Fitzgerald is term-limited and will leave office in December.

Jamie Wiggan is the news editor of Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared. 

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