Marita Garrett, Chair
Marita Garrett is the Vice President of Wilkinsburg Council and the Founder of Wilkinsburg Community Conversations, an initiative to connect and empower residents in working together to improve neighborhoods in her ward. It is one of her targets as a councilperson and resident of the Borough to increase civic engagement and encourage them to get involved in the legislative process to ensure that their voices are being heard.
Ms. Garrett is also the CEO and managing partner of Admintrinsic, a small business which provides administrative and community support services.
Ms. Garrett received her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University and her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from University of Pittsburgh.
JR Henry, Vice Chair
J.R. Henry is the Mayor of the Borough of West View. Prior to his appointment as Mayor in 2006, J.R. served as an elected member of the West View Borough Council since 1988.
J.R. has more than 35 years of experience as an EMS provider, administrator and firefighter. J.R. founded J.R. Henry Consulting, Inc in 1982 and has provided consulting services and seminars to hundreds of EMS and Fire Department organizations, hospitals and municipalities, across the nation. During his career, Mr. Henry has become well known as an expert in the area of ambulance service operations, management and reimbursement related issues.
J.R. currently serves as the Executive Director and Chief of Valley Ambulance Authority which provides EMS services to 16 communities in the western suburbs of Pittsburgh (including the Pittsburgh International Airport). From 1979 through 1999, J.R. served as the Executive Director of the Ross/West View Emergency Medical Services Authority. In addition to his administrative and consulting activities, Mr. Henry is a former Paramedic and Vehicle Rescue Technician. J.R. is also a life member of the West View Volunteer Fire Department. He also holds membership in numerous other local, state and national EMS organizations. He currently serves as the immediate Past President of the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council and serves as Board member for the Allegheny County EMS Council and the Emergency Medical Services Institute in Pittsburgh, PA.
Mary Ellen Ramage, Secretary/Treasurer
Mary Ellen Ramage has been the Borough Manager for Etna for 27 years. Prior to that, she served as Assistant Manager for Etna Borough for 8 years and has a total of 40 years with the community that she loves and calls home. She has served as past Assistant Treasurer for the community as well.
Mary Ellen is a member of the ALCOSAN Wet Weather Program Customer Municipal Advisory Committee and has been an active participant in the region regarding wastewater and storm water initiatives. Mary Ellen has served as a past Vice President At Large for the Association of Professional Municipal Managers. She serves as Team Leader for the Pride of Etna Committee, an all-volunteer organization providing social, economic and neighborhood assistance to the community at large. She is a member of the Etna Economic Development Corporation, the Etna Garden Club, the Etna Holiday Committee and is the Editor of the Borough’s quarterly newsletter.
Steve Beuter, Manager Representative
Steve Beuter is the current manager for the Borough of Carnegie, a town of 7,900 residents within 1.3 square miles. Starting in May of 2010, Steve worked in the administrative department as a project assistant handling grant applications for the municipality. In addition to researching and administering requests for funds he was appointed to the position of planning commission secretary, which includes processing applications and preparing for new businesses and future development within the borough.
After training for three years under the part-time manager, the transition was made from administrative staff member to borough manager. Working under a seven member council body, his duties include overseeing the daily operations of the department of public works, code enforcement and administration.
As Steve continues to develop under the borough manager role, he has played a part in the transformation of downtown Carnegie by assisting in turning it into a destination for both businesses and consumers throughout the Pittsburgh region.
Steve is in the process of working toward a Masters of Public Policy and Management through the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Between the experiences received from his time in the public sector and the lessons and policies provided through CONNECT, Steve’s goal is to expand his understanding of municipal management and to have the opportunity to help Carnegie residents and his neighboring communities grow.
Rich Fitzgerald, County Representative
Currently serving his second term, Rich Fitzgerald took office as Allegheny County Executive in January 2012, following 11 years on Allegheny County Council representing District 11. As County Executive, Rich’s work has resulted in stable funding for public transit, the passage of legislation which has invested funding in our roads, bridges and infrastructure, and increased passenger traffic, direct flights and economic activity around the Pittsburgh International Airport. Rich has also stabilized county finances while holding the line on property taxes through a smart refinancing of existing debt and operational adjustments. His hiring, as well as his appointments, has resulted in a more diverse county government, which has only added to the county’s strong economy.
Rich continues to focus on working together as the key to success for the county, partnering with officials at all levels of government who share the goal of moving the county forward. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University holding a B.S. in mechanical engineering with a minor in business. He and his wife, Cathy, a pharmacist, live in Squirrel Hill. They have eight children.
William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh Representative
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto became the city's 59th mayor on January 6, 2014, after having served Pittsburgh City Council District 8 since November 2001. He has built a reputation for being a “Reform Democrat” and wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history. He strengthened the ethics code, created the city’s first campaign finance limits, established lobbyist disclosure and lobbyist registration and ended no-bid contracts, among other things. Through his 16 years representing and working in Council District 8, Peduto has had more experience in transforming Pittsburgh’s economy into a Med/Ed New Economy than any other politician. By establishing “community-based” development plans and encouraging investment into niche industries, he is a leading architect of a New Pittsburgh. Having already named what has been called the most talented and diverse cabinet ever to run city government, he intends to focus on accountability and transparency.
Peduto earned an undergraduate degree from Penn State University and a masters degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to entering politics, Peduto worked as a busboy, road crew laborer, disc jockey, deputy coroner, ski store clerk, sidewalk painter, and delivered the Pittsburgh Press for 10 years. He currently resides in Point Breeze.
Mark Sampogna, Immediate Past Chair
Mark Sampogna has been a resident of The Borough of Green Tree for 37 years. He is currently in his second term as a Borough Council member and has served as Council President since 2007. He is also a Trustee of the Green Tree Public Library and an alternate representative to the Chartiers West Council of Governments. A graduate of the Local Government Academy, Mark has fostered several community initiatives and projects, including a Farmers Market, a business district Streetscape program, and significant upgrades to Green Tree Park. His main interests in public service include inter-governmental cooperation, transportation, infrastructure, and community affairs.
Since graduating from Duquesne University, most of Mark’s career has been spent in the industrial automation industry, assisting clients in the metals, mining, water/wastewater, food & beverage, engineering and OEM business segments. He has spent 26 years in his present position as Automation Product Manager for CED/Mosebach Electric Supply. He and his wife, Joyce, have three grown children.