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Pressure Mounting Against Allegheny Chief Executive to Nominate GASP Staffer to Key Advisory Board a

More people are calling on Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald to fill a key vacancy on the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee created by the exit of GASP’s former executive director, as two county council members asking for him to take action.

County Council President Pat Catena and Councilperson Anita Prizio recently sent Fitzgerald a letter asking that he nominate GASP senior staff attorney John Baillie to the committee, a request we first made in mid-September.

You can view that letter here, which reads:

Dear Executive Fitzgerald:We are writing today to endorse John Baillie, attorney with Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) for a vacant position on the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee.As you know, Rachel Filippini, former Executive Director of GASP, served on the Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee up until her retirement from GASP. John Baillie served as her alternate on this board and would be a logical replacement for Rachel. While we understand that GASP does not receive an automatic nomination to the Committee, their work speaks volumes in advocating for better air quality in our region.You no doubt will be receiving numerous requests from individuals who wish to serve our county in a role on this committee among others, however, we hope that you will carefully review what John Baillie brings to this Committee before making a nomination.Thank you in advance for your attention to this request.

GASP has been clear: We want to retain our seat at this decision-making table but despite writing and calling, Fitzgerald has yet to in any way acknowledge our request. GASP also personally reached out to Air Pollution Advisory Committee Chairperson Dan Bricmont, who did not respond to the correspondence. 

GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell also made appeals to members of county council’s appointment review committee chaired by Councilperson Bethany Hallam asking for their assistance in moving the nomination process along, telling them that nearly 120 residents have sent messages to the county executive imploring him to nominate Baillie.

“It’s truly disappointing that Mr. Fitzgerald is completely ignoring residents when it comes to anything air quality related,” Campbell said. “But his disregard for a highly qualified professional who wants to volunteer his time for the betterment of the county and its air quality is downright offensive.”

GASP is hopeful that a flood of messages from residents to Fitzgerald and Bricmont asking them to do all they can to help move Baillie’s nomination along will spur action. If you have a moment, please fill out the form below, which will be routed straight to their inboxes.

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