MAYOR WILLIAM PEDUTO THANKS CONTRIBUTORS TO “UNDERCOVER BOSS” FUND
PITTSBURGH, PA (Jan. 23, 2015) Mayor William Peduto today released the names of core Pittsburgh stakeholders that have generously provided funding to support “Undercover Boss.” The show aired Dec. 21, 2014, and further enhanced the city’s reputation among millions of viewers worldwide.
VisitPittsburgh, the region’s convention and tourism bureau, was the first to donate $25,000, and given the overwhelming success of the episode, has scheduled a board action at its February meeting to consider increasing that amount to $50,000. In addition, the beautiful scenes of Pittsburgh featured in the show were provided by VisitPittsburgh.
The remainder was contributed by PNC, Esmark, First National Bank, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 5, UPMC, Highmark, and Eat’n Park in amounts between $2,500 and $25,000.
Additionally Weyerbacher Brewery in Easton, Pa., has committed a percentage of sales of its Last Chance IPA to a no-kill animal shelter featured in the show.
The show was an unprecedented promotional opportunity for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. While a 60-second advertisement on Sunday night network television costs $200,000, this was in effect an 60-minute ad for the city on national prime-time television.
“I want to thank these partners for joining with me and realizing not only the tremendous positive impact this show is having on Pittsburgh’s reputation, but also that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help people through struggling times,” Mayor Peduto said.
The board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority voted Dec. 11 to make the URA the fiscal agent for the contributions to ensure transparency and public accountability. Payments into and out of the fund will be made over the course of the next year, and all disbursements will be subject to a full public accounting. The gifts were solicited in compliance with state and city laws.
The “Undercover Boss” funding is providing life-changing support to hard-working city employees going through hard times, and promoting Pittsburgh nationwide. Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner announced Friday she would attempt to withhold county hotel tax money belonging to VisitPittsburgh, but she has no legal authority to do so.
The donations were: VisitPittsburgh ($25,000 with an additional $25,000 subject to board action in February); PNC ($25,000); Esmark ($25,000); First National Bank ($20,000); International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 5 ($10,000); UPMC ($10,000); Highmark ($10,000); Eat’n Park ($2,500); and Weyerbacher Brewery ($2,500).
STATEMENT REGARDING VISITPITTSBURGH FUNDING OF “UNDERCOVER BOSS”
PITTSBURGH, PA (Jan. 23, 2015) City of Pittsburgh Communications Manager Timothy McNulty released the following statement today:
An announcement by Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner about VisitPittsburgh and the Pittsburgh episode of “Undercover Boss” is empty of facts, threatens city workers, and undermines what integrity is left in her office.
The “Undercover Boss” funding is doing two great things: providing life-changing support to hard working city employees going through tough times, and promoting Pittsburgh nationwide. In most cities elected officials would rally together in celebration of this opportunity. Here, one rogue politician would rather try to use it as an opportunity to pull a cheap political stunt.
For 80 years the core mission of VisitPittsburgh has been promoting Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Nothing could be more promotional of the city and region than the Dec. 21 episode of the CBS Network show, which was viewed by nearly 9 million people around the nation.
A 60-second Sunday night advertisement on network television costs $200,000. This show was in effect a 60-minute ad on prime-time television promoting Pittsburgh for an investment by VisitPittsburgh of only $25,000. That represents less than one percent of the agency’s budget.
Furthermore, $1.77 million of VisitPittsburgh’s revenues are provided through private sources. The City is going forward with plans to ask the VisitPittsburgh board for an additional $25,000 next month.
Unfortunately, the Controller also betrays a basic lack of understanding of her office’s powers. While Controller Wagner announced today that she will “withhold” county hotel room tax revenue from the promotion agency, state statute requires that the county hotel room tax revenues go to VisitPittsburgh, and it gives the Controller no authority to withhold these county tax revenues from the agency.
It is a waste of the Controller’s taxpayer-financed position to jump into this sideshow. Mayor Peduto has said since his appearance on “Undercover Boss” was first announced that no city money would be put into the show and that remains the case.
Further, the board of the Urban Redevelopment Authority voted Dec. 11 to make the URA the fiscal agent for the contributions to ensure transparency and public accountability over the funds. Payments into and out of the fund will be made over the course of the next year, and all disbursements will be subject to a full public accounting. The gifts are being solicited in compliance with state and city laws.
The list of all contributors is available here.
A LETTER FROM ED CHADWICK
PITTSBURGH, PA (Jan. 23, 2015) The City of Pittsburgh today released a letter from “Undercover Boss” star Ed Chadwick to the people of Pittsburgh.