On January 3, 2006, Bob O’Connor became the 58th Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh.
A true son of Pittsburgh, Bob O’Connor has succeeded in both the public and private sectors, unique among Pittsburgh’s mayors. His real-life business experience and public sector skills at relationship building have worked together to create a successful leadership style that has produced results for over three decades. In March of 2003, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell asked Bob to be his Director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Regional Office. Rendell appointed Bob to this top Commonwealth administration position to tap his skills to build the relationships with Harrisburg needed to meet the needs of over five million people in 16 counties.
Prior to entering public service, O’Connor prospered in private industry as Vice President of Operations for Pappan Enterprises, a franchise of Marriott Corporation. He managed 36 restaurants in Allegheny County and more than 1000 employees over a successful 20 year career of putting the customer first by finding the right people to provide the right service.
O’Connor’s public service career began in 1992 when he took up the fight to stop fiscal policies he warned would “lead to a path of financial ruin.” His leadership style as a member of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh earned him the reputation as the “cost conscious councilman” who fought mismanagement and waste of taxpayer dollars. Bob’s skill at bringing people together and commonsense approach made him the “go-to-guy” when things needed to get done.
During his two terms as Council President, O’Connor consistently improved the way government could be used in practical, cost-effective ways to serve the needs of City neighborhoods. His financial strategy for public/private partnerships saved the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Schenley Golf Course, and the National Aviary at Pittsburgh. Bob introduced a unified tax to replace the unfair two-tier system for property assessment and created performance audits that discovered under reporting of tax revenues by operators of private parking lots in the City of Pittsburgh. He also reduced natural gas consumption costs to consumers by 10% with a competitive choice program, saved the City substantial sums of money by requiring all insurance contracts be competitively bid, and instituted monthly independent reviews of cash disbursements as a member of the Public Auditorium Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. A member of the Equipment Leasing Authority Board, O’Connor saved Pittsburgh taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in gas purchases for city-owned cars and trucks, including police vehicles.
Mayor, O’Connor spearheaded Pittsburgh’s renewal into a vibrant 21st century American city. His platform highlighted fiscal responsibility along with increased neighborhood and downtown development, more robust job growth, and improved service delivery.
With a true son of Pittsburgh commitment to his hometown, Bob was an active civic leader lending his time and talents to a variety of civic, community and charitable organizations. He has served on the Board of Directors of Carnegie-Mellon University, Gateway Rehabilitation Institute, the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Alliance, The Caring Foundation, and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Bob’s wildly popular annual “Cookie Cruise” is as much a celebration of Pittsburgh’s famed Three Rivers as it is his fellow citizens