Outside of the Allegheny County Jail building

Oversight board bans controversial training from county jail

Keeping local government accountable to you is our job at PublicSource, and we’re introducing this ongoing series to share more of that information with you in real time. The Allegheny County Jail Oversight board voted Monday to cancel a controversial training contract after a trainer’s professional history was called into question. Training had already begun under the $300,000 agreement when the oversight board voted to halt it. Objections centered around the company, C-SAU, and its leader, Joseph Garcia. C-SAU trains correctional officers with militaristic methods for cell extraction and less-lethal force.

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb sits at his desk

Pittsburgh controller alarmed over COVID relief transparency

Update (9/14/2021): City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to approve the transfers, which add up to more than $90 million. Councilwoman Deb Gross voted against the move. An amendment was attached to authorize the city controller to audit the agencies' use of the funds and to require quarterly reports to the city. After swiftly passing Mayor Bill Peduto’s federal COVID-19 relief spending plan in July, City Council is preparing for final votes Tuesday on the transfer of more than $90 million of the funds to outside entities such as OnePGH and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). 

Friday morning, Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb sent a letter to council, asking them to leave the money in the city’s American Rescue Plan trust fund until the agencies are ready to spend it. He said leaving the money in the city account will allow for greater oversight and public transparency.

2020 Census: Pittsburgh’s slight decline came with ‘massive’ demographic shifts in 2010s

Pittsburgh’s overall population didn’t change dramatically in the 2010s, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, but the city underwent notable change in terms of race and age. “These are all important things in a region that has seen decline for many decades,” said Christopher Briem, a University of Pittsburgh demographer. “The city is still declining, a little slower, but there’s been massive changes within the composition and characteristics of the city’s population.”

Pittsburgh in 2020 had 302,971 people, a 0.89% drop from its 2010 population, according to data released Thursday. The rate of decline in the decade was much lower than what the city experienced during the 2000s, when it decreased by more than 8%. Race
Pittsburgh’s two largest racial groups declined faster than the city overall during the 2010s.