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Undercover Boss Exclusive Q&A: Get The Inside Scoop from Bill Peduto

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 | 12:00pm

Mayor Bill Peduto went undercover and shared more about his experience in this exclusive Q&A.

What was your favorite part of the undercover experience?
Without a doubt it was the reveal. Being able to be in a situation where you can change people‘s lives is something that rarely comes about in a lifetime.

How did you "train" for Undercover Boss?
I had to practice a really bad accent. I changed the way that I walked. I changed the way that I sat. And I prepared myself to listen. I wish I had gotten more sleep.

What's harder; being a mayor or climbing those hills?
There is no doubt that picking up tons of garbage and then having to climb the hills of Pittsburgh takes a toll on the body, much more than any mayor has to do, and few even know.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about your undercover experience?
My original name was to be Ed Denny, short for Ebenezer Denny, the first mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. I changed it to Ed Chadwick when producers told me I had to come up with a new last name, which I wouldn’t forget: Rick Chadwick was my best friend growing up as a child. Hence, Ed Chadwick.

What did you think of your disguise?
I knew that it would be difficult to keep my identity secret and coming up with the disguise -- part Jerry Garcia, part ‘Duck Dynasty’ -- was absolutely essential. As was my terrible accent, for which I owe an apology to all the fine people of Kentucky, including my friend Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Which employee's story touched you the most?
It was combination of Kelly and Lawrence. One had been sacrificing so much for those finding themselves in unfortunate situations, but didn’t have anyone to help her with her own situation. The other was a guy who hit rock bottom only to help pull himself out, and only needed that one extra break to see this life come completely around and to live up to a promise that had been told to him years before.

How did you react when Marty recognized you? Did you see it coming?
I saw Marty’s recognition of me coming a mile away. Pittsburgh is a small town. There are groups and cliques and politics that run generations deep. When Marty told me that he was in his late 20s, he was from the North Side, had gone to Central Catholic and he had worked on something called the ‘Redd Up Crew’ I knew right away he would recognize who I was.

Any funny moments from behind the scenes of shooting the show?
Working with the crew was a joy. Playing the role -- badly -- of Ed Chadwick was something that continued when the cameras were off. Some takeaway scenes from the parking ticket segment that didn't make show were classic, but like many classics they will never be seen. . . hopefully.

Are you still in touch with any of the employees featured on the show?
I am not making contact with the employees until the show airs. Having no access to any of the final edits or what they said about me [Mayor Peduto is laughing], I thought it best to wait until after Sunday.

You choked up when talking to Lawrence during the reveal. What was going on in your head during his emotional celebration?
Lawrence hit a bottom that very few people can ever come out of. In fact more people end up in prison or are dead than are able to survive the way he has. To see his life change completely and be rewarded for all the good that he has taken from so much bad, it would be impossible for anybody not to be caught up in that emotion. Lawrence is my man.