Government is often viewed as this nebulous, impenetrable thing. It’s something you know is out there, using your tax dollars to better your community, but you may not be sure how to interact with it on a more personal level. Luckily, the reality is Mt. Lebanon’s government is more accessible than you might think, and with some basic information, it’s easy to keep abreast of—or even have a say in—the decisions being made.
First the basics: Mt. Lebanon’s chief governing body is its commission, made up of five elected commissioners, each representing one of the municipality’s five wards. The commission, along with the municipal manager and solicitor, hold public meetings twice a month—the second Tuesday and fourth Monday at the municipal building, 710 Washington Road. It’s here that Mt. Lebanon’s primary governing is done, and agendas are posted the Friday before the meetings at www.mtlebanon.org.
Meetings are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., but each is preceded by a discussion session that kicks off at 6:30. Both are open to the public. Citizens may attend the discussion sessions to hear about current issues being debated but may not address the commission directly. The formal meetings, however, always include a “citizen comments” item early in the agenda, and at that time, residents in attendance may address the commissioners for up to five minutes on any topic.
If you can’t attend in person but are interested in what the commission is up to, you can watch videotaped recordings of the meetings on Comcast 17, Verizon 34 or at www.mtlebanon.org. Agenda items are indexed for the online version, and with a simple click, viewers can watch only those topics of interest to them.
You also may choose to contact your commissioner directly. First, confirm what ward you live in by referring to the ward map at mtlebanon.org. Then click on “Contact Commissioners” at the same website, where you can find phone numbers for all of the commissioners along with links to send them an email. (For convenience, we’ve also listed them at the end of this column.)
In addition to the commission, the municipality also utilizes a variety of boards and authorities, each focusing on a specific aspect of life in Mt. Lebanon. There’s a parks advisory board and a traffic board. There’s even a community relations board, which is responsible for the very column you’re reading right now! All told, there are 17 Mt. Lebanon boards and authorities, made up of about 100 community volunteers, that tackle various projects and advise the commission on issues important to Mt. Lebanon residents.
Most of these boards meet monthly and, just like the commission, will devote an agenda item to citizen comments. So if you have a suggestion for how to improve Mt. Lebanon that you think fits well with a board’s stated goal, just check www.mtlebanon.org or Mt. Lebanon Magazine to see when that board next meets. And with so many board seats in play, vacancies arise fairly often. If you’re interested in a more direct role in serving Mt. Lebanon, you can apply to fill a vacancy via the website.
For additional information on local government happenings, be sure you take advantage of Mt. Lebanon’s digital presence by signing up for LeboALERTS (a text and email-based messaging service). You can also follow Mt. Lebanon Magazine on Facebook and Twitter, or call the municipal offices at (412) 343-3400. Now, as promised, contact information for your five commissioners …
Ward 1: John Bendel
Ward 2: Steve Silverman
Ward 3: Stephen McLean
Ward 4: David Brumfield
Ward 5: Kelly Fraasch