Allegheny County Möbius
and I do note the ACE's response which is that no judge gets to run the county's assessment process when he is the elected official. There is this little bit of history where Judge Nicholas Papadakos of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County actually went much further than Judge Wettick has even hinted at and actually took over the county's property assessment system himself for several years in the 1980's. The judge then ran the county department outright and you didn't get the county commissioners threatenting Seppuku. In fact, I think they kind of liked it.
Why do we have a county manager in the first place. I'll say it again. The referendum that passed the home rule charter and created the position of Allegheny Chief Executive was passed in an election by the very slimmest of margins (hey who wrote that?). 50.3 to 49.7 from the news accounts. That margin was only possible because of the anti-county government sentiment generated by how bad things ran after Larry Dunn came to power in 1995. Remember he fired the property assessors, cut taxes but didn't cut spending, thus the county ran out of money, county bond ratings fell, there were even headline stories about weeds overrunning the county parks because there was nobody to cut the grass. He all but forced Judge Wettick into the course of rulings on property assessments that lead to this moment. No Larry Dunn -> no Home Rule Charter > no new assessments and the last couple of years would have been a dream. Strange comparing how Larry Dunn's political demise began by freezing property assessments leads directly to our current assessment miasma and the different results it is having on the public. You think that 16 years might have given us an opportunity to do this better.
But there has been a flurry of orders from the court today. There is an entirely separate order he seems to think is necessary to make sure people actually show up. Is that normal? What happens if the County Manager quits by Thursday? Why do all these people need to be around if everything is going to be delayed a year? Again, I personally expect them all to quit by then just to make this all the more fun.
Another filing today: The judge's response to a motion requesting he consider reconsidering past reconsiderations on all of this. Denied, of course, but interesting Aramaic scribble there on the very top.