Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Jen Liptak, Allegheny County manager, headed to Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

Allegheny County Manager Jen Liptak is headed to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, departing county government after over a quarter-century of service and reuniting with former County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

Liptak’s last day will be June 7, according to a press release from County Executive Sara Innamorato.

Many politicos view the county manager as an important position because that person essentially runs the day-to-day operations of county government.

Ms. Innamorato said: “It is bittersweet to accept County Manager Liptak’s resignation. She has been a phenomenal public servant for more than 20 years and her dedication and passion for Allegheny County is evident every day. I want to personally thank her for shepherding my administration with an exceptionally professional and smooth transition for the last six months. We have learned so much from her and enjoyed working with her immensely, but after 12 demanding years as a Chief of Staff to the County Executive and County Manager we respect her decision to start a new chapter in her professional journey.”

Ms. Liptak will serve as deputy executive director/chief operating officer for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

According to the press release, Deputy County Manager Steve Pilarski will serve as Acting County Manager until a new County Manager is selected and confirmed by County Council. He currently oversees “the operations of the County Jail, County Police, Medical Examiner, Public Defender, Public Works, Facilities Management, Administrative Services, Human Resources, and Information Technology,” according to his county biographical page.

In the release, Ms. Liptak said: “I’ve been an Allegheny County employee for 26 years and it has been an incredibly rewarding and meaningful privilege to work alongside such dedicated public servants. But I’ve decided it was time for me to try a new professional challenge. It has been an absolute honor to work with County Executive Innamorato and her staff. I have total confidence in her team and County leadership to continue to serve the people of Allegheny County with the highest standard of excellence.”

Mr. Fitzgerald joined the SPC at the beginning of 2024, after serving three terms as county executive. He serves as the commission’s executive director, overseeing a staff of about 50 people that focuses on infrastructure and transportation projects and funding throughout a 10-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania, including Allegheny.

The partnership between Ms. Liptak and Mr. Fitzgerald goes back years. In February 2023, Ms. Liptak began as county manager in his administration, and before that, she served as chief of staff under him from 2012.

Before that, she served as the County Council’s budget director from 2004 to 2012, and in the District Attorney’s office from 1998 to 2004, where she worked up to the position of finance manager.

Many political observers and elected officials have praised Ms. Liptak for her breadth of knowledge about county government. And some county sources said before Friday’s announcement that it was no surprise that Mr. Fitzgerald wanted her to join the SPC, given her managerial experience and expertise in regional issues.

“He has shown a great degree of loyalty to his staff,” one county source said about Mr. Fitzgerald.

Ms. Liptak’s departure also marks another important moment for County Executive Sara Innamorato and her administration. Since Ms. Innamorato’s inauguration in January, she has worked with Ms. Liptak, and political observers note that the experience of the outgoing county manager has been instrumental to helping Ms. Innamorato transition into her role as executive.

Ms. Innamorato is continuing her search for a permanent county manager, and one county source said that the administration is interviewing candidates for that role on Friday.

She and her administration have multiple senior-level openings to fill in the coming months. A longer-term decision, Ms. Innamorato has said, is finding a new jail warden. Shane Dady is currently serving as interim warden, while also serving as a deputy superintendent with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. He’s held that position since late September, after Orlando Harper retired as warden on Sept. 29 of last year.

View the full article at post-gazette.com.