Commission weighs board restructure

Mt. Lebanon has 18 boards and authorities, 11 of which give advice and recommendations to the Commission.

Commission President Andrew Flynn believes the boards play an important role, but thinks the current structure can sometimes be unwieldy. He sees enough overlap on various boards’ responsibilities to warrant some streamlining.

“This has been kind of an ongoing discussion among commissioners for a couple of years now,” said Flynn. “This is an opportunity for the commission to ask, ‘Where are we? Are we where we need to be?’”

As an example, he cites the traffic and parking facility boards.

“We have one board for cars when they’re moving, and another one for when they’re stopped,” he said.

“Why not look at all forms of transportation? We’re a walking community, so why not have a mobility board? If boards become too focused on their own components, they could run the risk of not recognizing the broader needs of the community.”

Other suggestions include combining the parks advisory and sports advisory boards into one parks and recreation board, and possibly merging the economic development council with the environmental sustainability and historic preservation boards to create a community sustainability and economic development board.

“If we think about the long-term strategic vision of the community,” Flynn said, “it’s part economic development, part resilience and sustainability and part historic preservation.”

He envisions a board that will “craft policy that can move all of these types of issues forward.”

Another reason for realigning some boards, Flynn said, is to expand the scope to allow for more long-range strategic vision to go along with day-to-day operational advice.

“With the Build Back Better Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, there’s going to be a lot of money for municipalities to improve their infrastructure, but we have to be ahead of the curve.”

Flynn believes the municipality should not rush into making any immediate changes, but sees the shaping of Mt. Lebanon’s comprehensive plan, scheduled to be completed next year, as an opportunity to consider some realignment.

“I don’t want to create a lot of disruption,” he said. “We should build a transition plan, driven by staff, because they provide the continuity.

“As we move ahead with the comprehensive plan, it’s an ideal time to reposition and give staff and commission the capacity to give the boards the attention they deserve.”