Tuesday, November 16, 2010

InsolvenCity Council Continues Confident Course

InsolvenCity Council's surprisingly steady walk toward independence and leadership (and it is becoming reasonable to dare imagine a day when effectiveness might be added to the list) passed a couple of milestones today.

First, a candidate emerged with respect to council's prospective engagement of independent legal counsel: Council President Darlene Harris asked her colleagues to consider Shannon Barkley (right), former contracts lawyer in the InsolvenCity law department. (A point that should not necessarily be held against her; sure, she worked there, but she also quit.)

Second, councilors countered forcefully (and unanimously) when the well-paid hacks of the Marcellus Shale Coalition issued vague threats concerning council's well-meaning (but imperfectly executed) efforts to ban in-city drilling. The Coalition raised jobs, spending and other economic benefits as a reason to permit drilling near schools and playgrounds; Mrs. Harris responded: "There's going to be a lot of jobs . . . for funeral homes and hospitals. That's where the jobs are. Is it worth it?"


Rex said...


Perhaps this former InsolvenCity Law Department contracts lawyer should have advised her prospective Council employers that professional services agreements/contracts of this dollar amount need to first be competitively bid and that an RFP must first be released. And screw the Mayor's Executive Order, just try Title I of the City Code.

I'm just saying. But I greatly appreciate now knowing who Council is hiring, because she is not yet listed on the Behrend and Ernsberger, P.C. website, although the legislation authorizing the agreement doesn't mention her as an employee.

Must be slow on updating the site.

And although I enjoy getting my news from you, I suspect that the third of Council who didn't have a clue probably don't share my sick, twisted sense of irony.

Infinonymous said...

The Infinews report did not describe this as a done deal. It is somewhat difficult to believe that any council member was clueless by the time of that report, but not impossible.

The tie to a major political player is bad enough; the connection to the city's big-part-of-the-problem Democratic Committee is worse.

Not Post-Gazette-hiring-city-administration-insider worse, but worse.

Why would it be ironic to get news here? Are Connie and Selena aware of this?

Rex said...


I never alleged any nefarity for the selection or the law firm.

I'm not even sure if there is a political connection at all.

But Council, just today, as I watched on Channel 13, asked the Law Department about whether THEY competitively bid a virtually identical professional services agreement for its' own outside counsel, 24 hours after they submitted their own legislation authorizing the execution of a professionnal services agreement for counsel for Council which they are desirous of entering into without a competitive bid.

And I have it on reasonable authority that 3 members of Council were unaware that Council was even hiring an attorney.

That seems sketchy considering the fact that 6 who did obviously have the votes to hire who they choose. Why hide it?

Just asking.

They can choose who they want, after the bids come in, so why subvert the process?

Rex said...


And since Ms. Barkley was contracted this year to write Councilman Shields' legilation reforming towing practices in the City, I would suspect that Connie knew.

I'm sure Selena is far too busy trying to get 32 disparate Counties in 4 states to work together to plan out a common vision of the future while trying to determine the impact of their common waterways of hydraulic fracturing and such.

Rex said...

And is the Post-Gazette hiring an Administration insider to represent them worse than UPMC hiring the lawyer who used to represent the Post-Gazette?

Infinonymous said...


Any council member unaware that colleagues have been exploring engagement of (long overdue) independent legal counsel is too clueless to be trusted with a stapler. That has been commonly understood for some time.

The Ernsberger angle is not nefarious, just par-for-the-course dumb.

Are you sure this is a done deal?

And is the Post-Gazette hiring an Administration insider to represent them worse than UPMC hiring the lawyer who used to represent the Post-Gazette?


Connie said...

Hey, Selena:

Told ya they were wise to us. Believe me now?


Selena said...


Yeah, they know. For sure. Figures....Yarone worked for Reed Smith, ya know, I think Luke told me he was like senior managing partner of the whole firm or whatever. and Luke totally went to like four colleges or something awesome like that....so don't feel too bad they caught up to us. They're wicked smart.


Rex said...


Unless Council suddenly catches a bad case of "I guess we should do this the legal way", I would suspect that it is a done deal.

What's the likelihood they would listen to InsolvenCity's Solicitor anyway?

I always did love the InsolvenCity reference. Too bad it's so oddly prophetic, Infy. Pretty soon, it won't be a joke anymore....

Infinonymous said...

BankruptCity could be prophetic.

InsolvenCity, however, is already here.

(Is it time for trademarks?)

Regarding the law-talking guy-or-gal issue, the majority seems to be in place to hire someone, but the identity of that someone may remain to be settled. Several names have been mentioned, and some councilors have been informally talking with lawyers on several issues, but some of those folks seem too pricey for council's budget.

Too bad Lionel Hutz is no longer available.

Rex said...


You probably should move to protect your intellectual property.

In addition to InsolvenCity, you should look into BankrupCity, but without the "t" after bankrupt.

You should also look into registering