Your Commissioners

Jacquet Kehm
WGSC Chairperson

I am a local entrepreneur, activist, and artist who has been a resident of Wilkinsburg’s 2nd Ward for 5 years.

I became interested in issues with our local governance while trying to start a business here. What quickly became clear is that we have a set of ordinances that are extremely dated, and the bureaucratic processes that are supposed to support each of us in fulfilling our ambitions are in fact doing the opposite.

I believe there are a lot of people who have ideas about how to make our Borough better. I have no doubts that a home rule charter opens many doors to how we get to those possibilities, on our own.

C. Keywanda Ballard-Battle
WGSC Vice Chairperson

I am a retired corporate leader. After a 30 year tenure, I retired early, in 2008, to relax, recalibrate, refocus and pursue entrepreneurial aspirations. I now own and run a small business offering 5 business lines. Digital marketing and content writing are specialties. 

I believe my residency in Wilkinsburg since 1986, as well as, my work and life experiences qualify me for this task. 

I would like to participate on the Wilkinsburg Government Study Commission to evaluate [not merely criticize] current Borough governance, make meaningful suggestions for improvements where needed, via a transparent, democratic process that carries with it accountability for those who govern. 

I do not believe annexation is the only and certainly not the best route to produce a, once again, successful, viable, thriving Borough.  

Janet Harris 
WGSC Community Liason

I am a 36-year Wilkinsburg resident and community activist. I have lived in Wilkinsburg since 1985 and raised 5 children and 2 grandsons, all of whom graduated from Wilkinsburg High School.

I am a dedicated election poll worker. I am a long-time affiliate of the Wilkinsburg Football Association. I have also worked with Gwen’s Girls at the Community Forge location. I believe my connection to my community through these and other affiliations qualify me for this task.

I want to participate as a Wilkinsburg Government Study Commissioner because I’d like to: 

Understand how our borough is managed; See accountable governance in place; See substantial, relevant development in “our” Borough; See how Wilkinsburg can flourish with blight eliminated. 

Ruth Kittner 
WGSC Recording Secretary

Wilkinsburg has been my home since 1994, when I bought my house in the 3rd Ward. Since I’ve lived here, there have been constant promises that Wilkinsburg is “rounding the corner” on our Borough’;s challenges. Sometimes it seems, though, that we cannot see the corner, much less turn it. 

As the Executive Director at Wilkinsburg Community Ministry, our local food pantry, I see the consequences of Wilkinsburg’s challenges daily. I see the impact of rough roads and sidewalks, the food desert, the overcrowded living conditions, homeless ness, etc, every day. 

I’ve also taught history at CMU and have worked as an administrator for several other universities. I have a broad background in research and writing and am looking forward to investigating the possibilities for Wilkinsburg’s future. 

Paul O’Hanlon
WGSC Legal Educator

Paul is a retired lawyer. He has worked in disability rights, housing, and voter registration for most of his career. He has resided in Wilkinsburg for decades. 

Beverly McCoy
WGSC Borough Coordinator

Beverly is retired and currently serves on Wilkinsburg’s Vacancy Board. Previously, she served as a borough council member in the 2000s and 2010s and chaired the Parks, Recreation & Arts committee. 

Renee Haynes-Johnson

I have lived in Wilkinsburg for 38 years. I’ve seen it survive the 90’s which devastated the Borough economically and the horrors of a drug invasion and gang violence. When I retired after a 30 year career with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I wanted to become engaged in doing what good I could for the neighborhood. I currently serve on the Planning Commission and the Civil Service Commission. It is an honor for me to now serve on the Government Study Commission to help seek the most efficient and effective form of government to lead Wilkinsburg into its best future possible.