PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ultra-cold weather moving into the city moved Mayor Bill Peduto’s inauguration indoors Monday – and also kept the city’s 60th mayor busy in emergency planning meetings in the hours before he was officially sworn in.
Peduto, 49, a three-term Democrat city councilman, won the office in a November landslide after the incumbent, fellow Democrat Luke Ravenstahl, dropped out of the race.
Peduto was sworn Monday afternoon in by retired Superior Court Judge Justin Johnson at a ceremony moved indoors to Heinz Hall because of temperatures that were forecast to begin dropping precipitously about the time the ceremony began.
“We did not only inherit this city from our forbearers, but we are also borrowing it from our children,” Peduto said, telling about 2,000 supporters their eyes “must be fixed on tomorrow.”
Peduto spent much of the morning meeting with City Council and public safety officials to plan for the cold snap, which is forecast to bring overnight temperatures down to 10 below zero, and keep them about zero throughout Tuesday.
Peduto succeeds Ravenstahl, who was only 26 when, as city council president, he automatically succeeded Mayor Bob O’Connor, who died of brain cancer in 2006. Ravenstahl’s age landed him a guest spot on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” and while he balanced six budgets and rescued the city’s bond rating from junk status, he also left office under the cloud of an ongoing federal grand jury investigation.
The secret probe, details of which have been published and attributed to witnesses called before the grand jury, has reportedly focused on whether the young, divorced mayor misused his police-issued body guards while nightclubbing after hours. Ravenstahl has denied wrongdoing and no charges have resulted from the probe.
Another grand jury, however, indicted Ravenstahl’s hand-picked police chief, who will be sentenced next month on charges he helped create a $70,000 slush fund using fees police collect from businesses when officers work off-duty security details, then spent $32,000 of it on himself. Ravenstahl dropped out of the mayor’s race three weeks before the chief was indicted in March.
Peduto began his four-year term by honoring the police department by having the parents of a slain Pittsburgh officer, Paul Sciullo, hold the Bible at his swearing-in.