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TERESI REVAMPS CORPORATION COUNSEL'S OFFICE, PROPOSES TO REORGANIZE FINANCE DEPARTMENT

Mayor-elect Samuel Teresi on Tuesday announced seven appointments to his new administration -- four of them part of two major office restructurings.

The most significant change, said Teresi, will involve the corporation counsel's office. He appointed Peter Pillitieri to the post, but the contract will be with Pillitieri's law firm -- Bly, Sheffield, Bargar and Pillitieri.

Teresi sees a number of advantages to the move, primarily that the city will have "24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week" legal services.

"We can move a lot of things that are on site off-site, realize a cost savings, have the benefit of a larger firm -- a multidisciplined firm with several on-staff attorneys and legal partners," he noted.

The potential cost savings, said Teresi, is $100,000.

"When Pete's unavailable, or where there's a conflict of interest -- there's occasionally a conflict-of-interest situation that'll come up -- there is other staff support available in that firm," he added.

Teresi said there will be regular office hours, and Pillitieri or a member of the firm will be available on a call or appointment basis. The change is possible, he said, because of the retirement ofe Corporation Counsel Richard Sotir, though Teresi noted there is no way to immediately replace his 26 years of municipal law experience.

"But I'm confident that with the level of experience, and Pete's aggressiveness, and the backup of the firm, that there will be little or no falloff in time with the quality of legal service being provided to the administration, City Council and the general public," he said.

There also will be restructuring in the Finance Department. Comptroller Joseph Bellitto is being reappointed and former City Clerk-Treasurer James Olson will be appointed finance director, succeeding Richard Cole. Olson is currently finance director in Warren, Pa. Teresi said the department will eventually become the office of Administrative Services.

Teresi said Olson will oversee "the money collection operation of city government, or the city treasurer's office" and also work with Bellitto, the mayor and City Council in drafting the city budget and overseeing its expenditure.

Teresi said Olson will work closely with City Clerk Shirley Sanfilippo, who is being reappointed. The restructuring should save $15,000, said Teresi.

The appointments and changes must be approved by the new City Council. Teresi said he had held individual and group meetings with Council members and they seem comfortable with his plans.

He said a charter change, which takes 30 to 45 days, is required to create the office of Administrative Services.

Teresi also announced he is reappointing Jeffrey Lehman director of public works, William Mac-Laughlin chief of police and Samuel Arcadipane fire chief.

The mayor-elect and Council take office Jan. 1.

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