Summary Information
Title: Ralph Kaiser Papers on the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter
Collection Number: AIS.2003.11
Creator: Kaiser, Ralph E., 1950-

Collection Dates: 1997-1999
Extent: 1.25 linear feet (1 box)

Language: English

Ralph Kaiser was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (Democrat) from the City of Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1989 and served until 2002. During his time in the House, he held a position as a member of the Allegheny County Charter Draft Committee, the main organization behind the push for the Allegheny Home Rule Charter. This collection contains newspaper clippings of articles, meeting minutes, agendas, correspondence, and ephemera related to the home rule charter.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

June 2010

Finding aid prepared by Tiffany Brand.

In accordance with The Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law (Act 62 of 1972), which mandates the study of a county’s existing government structure before changes can be submitted, Allegheny County was given permission to draft its own charter after the passage of the Second Class County Charter Law (Act 12 of 1997). The draft went through several revisions, based on Allegheny County Charter Draft Committee member and public feedback. The vote to ratify the home rule charter took place on May 19, 1998, during the Pennsylvania Primary elections. The charter eliminated the three county commissioner governing system and replaced it with elected officials: a county council and chief executive. The 15 member county council was elected in November 1999 and took office in January 2000.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Ralph Kaiser Papers on the Allegheny County Home Rule Charter documents the Allegheny County Drafting Committee work toward a home rule charter for Allegheny County. The collection consists of the Allegheny Home Rule Charter drafts with corresponding notes, edits, and criticisms of the drafts. The bulk of the collection comes from newspaper clippings that Representative Kaiser collected from 1997 to 1999, providing a concise documentation of public opinion of the campaign from its inception to the drafts passage and the Allegheny County redistricting efforts that followed as a result of the passage of the charter. This part of the collection includes articles and op-ed pieces on the home rule charter, election results, committee selection, re-districting efforts after the passage of the charter and demographic profiles on the newly created districts. Transcripts and list of presenters at public hearings for the charter, personal correspondence concerning the charter, as well as a small collection of campaign items from both sides of the issue, are included in the collection.

Subject Terms

  • County charters -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • County government -- Law and legislation -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County
  • Legislators -- Pennsylvania -- Allegheny County

Corporate Names
  • Allegheny County (Pa.). Charter Drafting Committee.
  • Allegheny County (Pa.). Government Study Commission.

Personal Names
  • Kaiser, Ralph E., 1950-

  • Allegheny County (Pa.) -- Charters
  • Allegheny County (Pa.) -- Politics and government

  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Correspondence

  • Politics

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Ralph Kaiser in November 2003.

Preferred Citation:

Ralph Kaiser Papers on the Allegheny Home Rule Charter, 1997-1999, AIS. 2003.11, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Tiffany Brand in June 2010.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Collection Inventory

Box 1
Folder 1 Allegheny County Charter Drafting Committee Business, October-December 1997
Folder 2 Allegheny County Charter Drafting Committee Business, December 1997-June 1998
Folder 3 Allegheny County Drafting Committee Agenda and Minutes, July 1997-February 1998
Folder 4 Allegheny County Home Rule Charter Drafts, September 1997-October 1997
Folder 5 Allegheny County Home Rule Charter Drafts, November 1997-December 1997
Folder 6 Allegheny County Home Rule Charter Drafts, January 1998-May 1998
Folders 7-8 Allegheny County Home Rule Charter Info, May 1997-November 1997
Folder 9 Allegheny Home Rule Charter Info, December 1997-May 1998
Folder 10 Allegheny Charter Technical Report, undated
Folder 11 Newspaper Clippings, 1997
Folders 12-15 Newspaper Clippings, January-November 1998
Folders 16-17 Newspaper Clippings, January-April 1999
Folder 18 Home Rule Charter Correspondence, May 1997-August 1998
Folders 19-21 Home Rule Charter Public Hearing Testimony, August 1997-March 1998
Folder 22 Ephemera, undated