“Pittsburgher of the Year:” 100 people more deserving than Rich Fitzgerald

Written By Jake Dabkowski, Editor-In-Chief

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald was recently named Pittsburgher of the Year by another publication. The article amounts to little more than a puff piece and does not mention any of his shortcomings. Most notably, Fitzgerald has been repeatedly criticized for failing to address issues within the Allegheny County Jail, including multiple incarcerated persons dying. Despite being statutorily obligated to attend monthly Jail Oversight Board Meetings, Fitzgerald has only attended one in eleven years. “Pittsburgher of the Year” is a title so unearned that it borders on insanity, and to prove it, here are 100 people more deserving of the title.

The Globe Editorial Board (7)

Our editorial board currently consists of Erin Yudt, Kylie Thomas, Cassandra Harris, Rachel Ross, Brooke Stephens, Mason Strawn, and Kayla Sterner. They are some of the hardest-working and most dedicated people that I have ever met in my life. Each of them is no doubt a better Pittsburgher than Rich Fitzgerald.

Andy Conte

Director of the Center for Media Innovation and a notable university professor, Andy Conte has served the campus community, and the city as a whole, in ways that Rich Fitzgerald could never dream of. This year, Conte directed the Center for Media Innovation through a difficult moving process and helped open a new resource space for organizations in the city.

University President Donald Green

Regardless of your opinion on President Green, you have to admit that he is a better Pittsburgher than Rich Fitzgerald, and he only moved here in 2021.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (25)

At the time of writing this article, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been on a brutal losing streak. But no matter how many times they choke in the third period or lose in overtime, each and every one of them has done more for this city than Rich Fitzgerald ever would. Even Brian Dumoulin.

Kris Letang

Since he is currently out with a lower back injury, he technically does not count toward the aforementioned Pittsburgh Penguins. But that doesn’t make him undeserving of being on this list.

Daniel Tiger

Although technically from the Neighborhood of Make Believe and also a fictional character, Daniel Tiger is still irrefutably more deserving of the title Pittsburgher of the Year than Rich Fitzgerald.

Greg Gaines

Not to be confused with the defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams, Greg Gaines is the fictional protagonist of the book Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and its movie adaptation. Although slightly less universally deserving of the title of Pittsburgher of the Year than Daniel Tiger,  he is still clearly more deserving than Rich Fitzgerald.

Every member of Anti-Flag, both past and present (13)

Pittsburgh-based punk rock band Anti-Flag are as well known for their left-wing activism as they are their great tunes. Regardless of your political beliefs, you have to admit that all of their members, both past and present, including touring members, have done through their activism and awareness-raising efforts than Rich Fitzgerald ever has.

Benoit Blanc

Benoit Blanc is a fictional detective appearing in the Knives Out series of murder mystery movies. He is not from Pittsburgh, does not go to Pittsburgh in any of the movies, and as far as anyone is aware has never been to Pittsburgh. He is still more deserving of the title “Pittsburgher of the Year” than Rich Fitzgerald.


Unlike Benoit Blanc, I actually am from Pittsburgh, and unlike Rich Fitzgerald, I have attended multiple Jail Oversight Board meetings in the past year.

Zach Strennen

At this point, I am going to just start naming some people that I know in the Pittsburgh area, I don’t really think that I need to even justify them, because that’s how undeserving Rich Fitzgerald is of the title “Pittsburgher of the Year.”

Maggie English

Hailing from the Dormont area, Maggie English is my girlfriend, so I would be remiss to not include her on this list.


Maggie’s cat, Winnie, is a truer yinzer than Rich Fitzgerald could ever hope to be.

Ten other people I know from the city of Pittsburgh

At this point, the thesis of this list (that Rich Fitzgerald is incredibly undeserving of being called “Pittsburgher of the Year” or anything other than “Worst County Jail Oversight Board Member of the Year”) should be clear, and one hundred is a lot of people. So to pad this list out I’m going to give mention to Adam Chaplin, Mason Dowd, Owen Belfiore, Nathan Hoskins, Shane Brennen, Max Bametzrider, Katie Friend, Dan Russo, and Zack Lawry.

The guy on the T insisting that “it’s still Heinz Field to him”

On the way to Sunday’s Steeler game, there was a man on the T who kept insisting to everyone who would listen to him that, despite the stadium being renamed to Acrisure Stadium, it would “always be Heinz Field to him.” I don’t know much about this man, but I do know that he loves our city more than Rich Fitzgerald ever could.

Jeff Daniels

It has been said by many that actor Jeff Daniels and Rich Fitzgerald look alike, and while Daniels is not from the city of Pittsburgh or even the state of Pennsylvania, he is still far more deserving of recognition.

The board of the Abolitionist Law Center (9)

Although all of their work is not done in Pittsburgh, the Abolitionist Law Center works constantly to improve the conditions that incarcerated people are kept in, something that Rich Fitzgerald has never done in his entire life.

Jeff Goldblum

While legendary actor Jeff Goldblum no longer lives in the Pittsburgh area, his roots are undeniable. Goldblum even starred in a movie titled Pittsburgh. His numerous incredible performances have earned him dozens of accolades including an Academy Award nomination, but at the end of the day, it’s the fact that he is not responsible for multiple deaths by failing to do a civic duty that makes him a contender for Pittsburgher of the Year.

Franco Harris

Four-time Super Bowl Champion Franco Harris passed away at the age of 72 this year, just days before the anniversary of the legendary Immaculate Reception. His love for the city of Pittsburgh, and the people in it, are what make him a contender for “Pittsburgher of the Year.”

The band Weezer (4)

They aren’t from Pittsburgh, but sometimes when they perform here Rivers Cuomo puts on a Pirates hat and yells “Pittsburgh,” which is on par with the level of performative actions Fitzgerald has done with the Allegheny County Jail.

Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa could skip statutorily obligated board meetings but Rich Fitzgerald could never make Black and Yellow.

The staff on any given day of the Wood Street McDonald’s (7)

According to a Google search, anywhere between seven and fifteen people work in a McDonald’s at any given time. I’ll go with the lower number, just to be fair. That being said, all seven of them work harder and have done more for the city than Rich Fitzgerald ever has.

The Pierogis (7)

Potato Pete, Jalapeno Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, Oliver Onion, Bacon Burt, and Pizza Penny are all contenders for Pittsburgher of the Year, even if Potato Pete and Pizza Penny eloped to Italy together.

Maddie Ziegler

Not to be confused with the Better Call Saul character Werner Ziegler, Maddie Ziegler appeared on the hit show Dance Moms. Her Pittsburgh heritage is what qualifies her for this list.


They filmed that one Batman movie here so it counts. 

You, the reader

Assuming that you are anyone other than Rich Fitzgerald, then you are probably a better Pittsburgher than him. But, if for some reason you aren’t, then disregard the title of this list and pretend that it is called “99 Pittsburghers more deserving of the title of Pittsburgher of the Year than Rich Fitzgerald.”