Friends of the Zeiss                                     Statement Before

P.O. Box 1041                                                            Pittsburgh City Council:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.                       2003 June 10

Telephone: 412-561-7876

Electronic Mail: < >

Internet Web Site: < >


Good morning, I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. I am Project Director of Friends of the Zeiss.


Last week, the Historic Review Commission scheduled a public hearing to consider granting a "Certificate of
Appropriateness" for major changes to the Old Allegheny Post Office and Buhl Planetarium buildings,
regarding the proposed Pittsburgh Children's Museum and Center project.
The monthly meeting, which began at 12:30 p.m. on June 4, included a business meeting and eleven public
hearings. For the first nine public hearings, a bare quorum of four Commission members, of the seven-member
Commission, were in attendance: Michael D. Eversmeyer [Chairman], Ronald S. Graziano [Secretary], Linda
Metropulos, and William Barron. However, Mr. Graziano left the meeting prior to the beginning of the 3:10
p.m. hearing regarding the proposed Children's Museum project. No other Commission members attended the
Children's Museum hearing, and Mr. Graziano did not return to the meeting.
The public hearing, regarding the proposed Children's Museum project, began at 3:10 p.m., despite the lack
of a quorum. Near the end of this particular public hearing, the Chairman asked for a motion to approve
the granting of a "Certificate of Appropriateness" for the proposed Children's Museum project.
Before a motion was made, I IMMEDIATELY announced the following:
"Point of Order. Mr. Chairman, I believe the Commission no longer has a quorum."
Mr. Eversmeyer overruled my objection. He stated that a quorum is only needed to call a meeting to order.
Friends of the Zeiss is of the understanding that this is not correct; a quorum is needed for the Commission to take ANY official action. Despite the continuation of the public hearing, Roberts Rules of Order makes it quite clear that no official action can be taken, short of adjournment, when a quorum no longer exists in an assembly. Further, there is precedent for our understanding. There have been occasions, within the last couple of years, when the Commission had to postpone taking official action, due to the lack of a quorum.
Friends of the Zeiss is dismayed that, in the City Administration's zeal to expedite the proposed
Children's Museum project, including the GUTTING of Buhl Planetarium's Theater of the Stars and
Astronomical Observatory despite the loss of State funding for the project, the Historic Review
Commission of Pittsburgh now takes official actions out of compliance with State Law.
Regrettably, it has been necessary for Friends of the Zeiss to file a complaint with the State Attorney
General's Office regarding this incident. Our letter of complaint is attached to this statement.
Such a serious breach of State Law should be of concern to Pittsburgh City Council. We urge that you
seek corrective action, including a new Historic Review Commission public hearing and vote regarding
the proposed Children's Museum project.
Thank you.