Tom Murphy (mayor)

Tom Murphy (mayor)

Infobox Officeholder
name = Tom Murphy
caption =
order = 56th Mayor of Pittsburgh
term_start = January 3, 1994
term_end = January 3, 2006
predecessor = Sophie Masloff
successor = Bob O'Connor
birth_date = Birth date and age|1944|8|15|mf=y
birth_place =
death_date =
death_place =
constituency =
party = Democratic
spouse =
profession =
religion =

footnotes =

Tom Murphy (born August 15, 1944) is a Democratic politician from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From January 1994 until January 2006 he served as mayor of Pittsburgh. Murphy is currently the Senior Resident Fellow for Urban Development at the Urban Land Institute.

Early life

The son of a steel worker, Murphy graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland in 1967 and received a graduate degree from Hunter College in urban studies in 1973. From 1970 to 1972, Murphy and his wife Mona were in the Peace Corps in rural Paraguay, constructing sanitation facilities and an elementary school. After the Peace Corps, Murphy returned to Pittsburgh and became a neighborhood organizer for the North Side before entering local politics.

Early Political Career

Prior to his November 1993 election as mayor, Murphy served as a State Representative in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, representing Pittsburgh's North Side 20th Legislative District. In 1989 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic primary nomination for mayor.

As Mayor

Murphy was elected the mayor of Pittsburgh in 1993 and was sworn in during January 1994.

He is a somewhat controversial figure in Pittsburgh's recent history. As mayor, he initiated a public-partnership strategy that leveraged approximately $4.5 billion in economic development in Pittsburgh. Against overwhelming public opposition, [ [ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - PNC Park Fifth ] ] [ [ Plan B draws fire at RAD meeting ] ] [ [ Stadium fight moves to Capitol ] ] [ [ Plan B naysayers, big, small ] ] he secured $1 billion in funding for the development of Heinz Field, PNC Park, and a new convention center that was the largest certified green building in the United States. As mayor, he oversaw the transformation of more than 1,000 acres (4 km²) of blighted, abandoned industrial land into new commercial, residential, retail and public uses. He also lured, using public subsidies, both Lazarus and Lord's & Taylor department stores to the downtown section of the city. Both stores were monumental failures in Pittsburgh, each closing within a few years. [ [ Lazarus abandons Downtown ] ] [ [ Analysis: Murphy triumphs, failures a test in urban realities ] ] In addition, he oversaw the development of more than 25 miles of new riverfront trails and urban green space. Initiatives such as these drove the city to the brink of bankruptcy, resulting in it being declared a "distressed" city by the state. [ [ City is declared distressed - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ] ] [ [ City finally wins 'distressed' status ] ] To help recoup some of the city's losses during his tenure, Murphy made the controversial decision in 2003 to lay off a number of city employees, including police officers. [ [ Ax falls on 551 city employees ] ] [ [ Mayor, FOP resume talks today on police layoffs ] ] Some of these jobs were later saved by dramatically increasing the city's parking tax, making it the largest such tax in the country. [ [ Rates leaping at city lots ] ] [ [ Reaction to city parking tax hike: 'Shell-shocked' ] ]

Murphy's dealings with the Pittsburgh City Firefighters Union also had been questioned. Prior to the 2001 mayoral election, Murphy allegedly signed the firefighters to a new contract worth $10–12 million with a no-layoff clause in exchange for their vote. [ [ Fire union chief talks of votes-for-jobs deal with Murphy ] ] [ [ Firefighters deal examined ] ] [ [ Zappala eyes fire union's charges ] ] He would go on to narrowly defeat future mayor Bob O'Connor. In 2004, Murphy announced that he would not run for re-election. In June 2006, Murphy entered into an agreement with Federal goverenment to avoid prosecution. [ [ Murphy makes deal - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ] ] [ [ U.S. won't indict Murphy for contract with firefighters union ] ]

While being considered a man with big ideas, Murphy's political skills were often questioned as he alienated Pittsburgh from the rest of the state. [ [ Analysis: Murphy's legacy may be as visionary, not politician ] ] His declining popularity after the city's budget crisis in 2003 resulted in various citizens pushing for his impeachment, [ [ Newsmaker: Jim Genco heading move to unseat Murphy ] ] [ [ Forum: The unwinnable impeachment ] ] a move that would ultimately prove unsuccessful.


Murphy is an avid biker and marathon runner.

Today, Murphy and his wife live in a self-restored, 150-year-old farmhouse in Pittsburgh where they raised their two daughters Shannon and Molly and son T.J..

Murphy was one of Pennsylvania's presidential electors in 2000, casting his vote in favor of Al Gore.


External links

*Rich Lord (2005). [ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Review of Mayor Murphy's 12 Years in Office] . Retrieved December 25, 2005.
* [ Article about Murphy escaping prosecution for his role in election fraud in the 2001 mayoral race.]
* [ Murphy's biography on the Urban Land Institute website.]

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