Controller Questions Executive's Plan to Remove Independent Weights & Measures Duties

Contact:Nick Hays, Controller's Office
412-350-7617 office

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today issued the following statement on County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s plan to move weights and measures oversight to his office from the controller’s office. The controller has overseen weights and measures since 2008, under a measure proposed by then-County Council President Fitzgerald (Bill No 3795-08; No. 11-08-OR).

“County residents deserve to know that a gallon of gas is a gallon of gas, that a pound of lunchmeat is a pound of lunchmeat, and that is precisely why, by law, this function is performed by the Controller’s office—to ensure that independent validation,” Wagner said.

“My name, as the independent Controller, is on those pumps and weights to assure our residents that they are being treated fairly, because that is what this office does. This was very clear to council member Fitzgerald in 2008 when he made the proposal to ‘enhance’ and ‘properly administer’ this responsibility by moving it to the controller’s office. For him to now propose a change that would undermine this independence should be a matter of concern to all taxpayers in Allegheny County.

“With our daunting challenges in Allegheny County, from the reassessment to the proposed Port Authority cuts, I urge our County Executive to focus on what is broken in this County rather than tinker with functions that the County does efficiently and effectively. It is widely recognized that the controller’s office performs weights and measures oversight at the highest level of professionalism and independence, with professional audit oversight and state of the art software.”

The controller’s weights and measures division is responsible for the annual inspection of more than 10,000 gas pumps, 1,300 UPC price scanners, 4,000 scales and 6,300 parking meters throughout Allegheny County. In addition, it verifies the accuracy of sale prices on more than 80,000 consumer items in the county.

Fitzgerald has indicated that he will submit legislation to council this week, though he agreed to request that the county council hold the legislation in committee to permit Wagner to testify on the proposed changes before any council or committee action.

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