GASP on Tuesday submitted public comments to Allegheny County Council to make sure members were aware of our recent request to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald asking him to nominate John Baillie to fill a vacancy on the Air Advisory Committee created by the resignation of our former executive director Rachel Filippini.
Baillie is GASP’s longtime senior staff attorney, a person well-versed in air quality issues – from the regulations to the permits to the data.
GASP first reached out to Fitzgerald requesting the appointment a month ago. To date, neither Fitzgerald nor anyone from his office has either acknowledged or responded to the request.
Here’s what our new Executive Director Patrick Campbell wrote:
Dear Allegheny County Council:Good evening. My name is Patrick Campbell and I am the new executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), an environmental watchdog organization that’s been advocating for improved air quality for more than 50 years.Our outgoing leader Rachel Filippini was a member of the Allegheny County Air Advisory Committee and the chairperson of the Pollution Prevention and Education Subcommittee prior to her resignation in September. Allegheny County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald, has the opportunity to appoint her replacement, and we are respectfully requesting that GASP senior staff attorney John Baillie be nominated for this role. John previously served as Ms. Filippini’s alternate on the Air Advisory Committee and he is currently a sitting member of ACHD’s regulation subcommittee.John has a deep understanding of air quality issues, from the regulations to the data to the process by which decisions are made, making him extremely qualified for the position.We are requesting that County Executive Fitzgerald nominate him as a member of the Air Advisory Committee as soon as possible.Air quality remains one of the most serious public health issues in Allegheny County. It’s important to ensure that the Air Advisory Committee is populated by knowledgeable, experienced professionals. If you have any questions related to Mr. Baillie’s qualifications, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GASP has also forwarded our request to Allegheny County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam, who heads up the appointment review committee. That committee reviews nominations and makes a recommendation to the board, which votes to approve or deny them.
“Air quality is too important, and impacts far too many for the county not to move quickly to appoint a replacement for Ms. Filippini that ensures the air advisory committee is as effective as possible,” Campbell said. “We believe that John Baillie would be a perfect addition to the committee and hope that his appointment will be expeditious.”
And now we’re asking for your help to make sure that happens by letting Fitzgerald that you support the nomination of GASP’s John Baillie. To make that as quick and easy as possible, we’ve created sample language and a form that will route your comments directly to the chief executive’s office:
Tell Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald: Appoint GASP's John Baillie to the Air Advisory Committee Join us in asking Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald to appoint GASP's John Baillie to the Air Advisory Committee
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Air quality is one of Allegheny County’s most pressing public health issues. Because of this, we are asking you to nominate GASP’s senior staff attorney John Baillie to the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee to replace longtime member Rachel Filippini. Mr. Baillie has worked extensively on air quality issues both in Allegheny County and beyond, and has been a sitting member of the Regulation Subcommittee, making him an ideal choice. Please take action on this appointment as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.*