Archive: June, 2009
We just got an email from the Philadelphia Commercial Development Corporation saying that the agency will close today. As we reported earlier this month, the city plans to stop providing federal funds to PCDC, quasi-governmental agency that provides financial aid to minority businesses.
The email from the PCDC marketing director Lennette DeLoatch is below:
To all PCDC Clients and Friends,
I regret to inform you that PCDC will be closing its doors today, Tuesday June 30, 2009.
I have so many people to thank for their support and dedication that it is impossible to personally get to see you all with the short time that was available.
I truly am humbled to have worked with such a group of "get in and get it happening people" and I am so proud of the achievements that we have accomplished both in the operation and (for quite a lot of us) for your own personal accomplishments.
Our man in Harrisburg, John Baer, just caught up with Mayor Nutter, who spent the day in Harrisburg today on his quest for legislative authority to raise the city sales tax and extend payments into the city pension fund.
Nutter’s meetings included GOP state Rep. John Perzel as well as state Senators Shirley Kitchen, Anthony Hardy Williams and Vincent Hughes. Nutter said he met with members of the Philly delegation because it is important to "maintain a presence and supply information."
Nutter said that with the fiscal year beginning tomorrow, “this all becomes much more real, a little more intense and the consequences become more dire."
Nutter is looking for a temporary 1 cent increase to the city sales tax and some changes to how the city pays into the pension fund.
This just in from the press office:
MAYOR NUTTER APPOINTS ACTING DEPUTY MAYOR FOR PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Philadelphia, June 30, 2009 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that Alan Greenberger will serve as Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Commerce Director. Mr. Greenberger will retain his responsibilities as Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Mayor Nutter also announced that Kevin Dow, Deputy Director of Commerce for Neighborhood and Business Services, will serve as Acting Chief Operating Officer of the Commerce Department.
“Alan Greenberger is the perfect person to provide stability and continuity for Philadelphia’s planning and economic development during this transitional period,” said Mayor Nutter. “Kevin Dow has provided critical leadership in the reorganization of Commerce and the creation of the new Office of Business Services.”
Greenberger will head up a team that includes Dow as Chief Operating Officer, and Duane Bumb as Senior Deputy Director of Commerce.
“Duane is a highly regarded member of this administration and retains his important leadership position working on economic development projects,” said Mayor Nutter. “Alan, Kevin, and Duane will continue the great progress that has been made on planning and economic development over the last 18 months.”
Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe descends on Philly next week with "Nutterly Love: Funny as a Bell," a new show all about the city of brotherly love. The show premieres July 8 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.
Check out the Nutterly Love blog for some behind the scenes details on how the writers researched Philadelphia.
Contracts for four municipal unions expire today and all eyes now turn to Harrisburg to see how state budget negotiations there will impact the city's five-year financial plan.
The Fraternal Order of Police is seeking through binding arbitration to drop the long-standing requirement that police officers live in the city.
While unions and the city haggle over salary and health care, the head of the Philadelphia Housing Authority enjoys a $42,693 bonus on top of his $284,625 salary.
Did you have trouble calling PhillyClout or City Hall yesterday? You were not alone.
The city today released a new list of tax delinquents who owe the city back business taxes. This is the third such list put out by the city and it features 57 new businesses.
Check out this list here. The names highlighted in yellow are new to the list.
Since the city started publicizing tax deadbeats last November, they have collected $4 million in business tax revenue. Two well known names have remained on the list since last fall -- restaurantaur Neil Stein and Milton Street, brother of former Mayor Street.
With contracts for the city's four municipal unions set to expire at midnight tomorrow, Pew Charitable Trusts today released a updated report on the cost of employee benefits for the city.
Put out by the Philadelphia Research Initiative, the report is titled: "Quiet No More: Philadelphia Confronts the Cost of Employee Benefits. Today's release updates a 2008 study published by Pew and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia called "Philadelphia’s Quiet Crisis: The Rising Cost of Employee Benefits."
Today's report details the city's attempts to change payments into the pension fund and reduce health care costs, stressing that such efforts will be key to the city's fiscal future.
AFSCME DC 47, which represents the city's white-collar workers, attacked the new report last week before it was even released. Bob Bedard, a union spokesman, sent out a long e-mail complaining about inaccurate information he said the union found in a memo with details of the study supplied by Pew for fact-checking. Bedard also complained about the timing of the updated report, coming out so close to the expiration of the contract.
As part of his budget, which is dealing with a $1.4 billion five-year shortfall, Mayor Nutter eliminated money set aside for raises and is counting on getting $125 million in contract savings over the next five years. The city's opening offers to the nonuniformed workers included a four-year wage freeze and major concessions in pension contributions and work rules, as well as a major restructuring of health-benefit plans.
Contracts for the city's 10,000 uniformed workers - who cannot strike - are settled through arbitration. That process has started for police and is scheduled for firefighters later this year. Unlike police and firefighters, the 10,000 members of the nonuniformed unions can hit the pavement.
The latest budget fight in Harrisburg is over the State Police.
Fundraising is underway for a facelift to the Philadelphia Vietnam War memorial.
A "party girl" was murdered in a Northern Liberties apartment building over the weekend.
We got way more detail from City Council members about their summer plans than we could use in today's PhillyClout newspaper column. So here's a rundown of what members told us yesterday about what they're up to over the three-month summer recess.
Brian O’Neill said he expects to work on the review of the Board of Revision of Taxes. He’s also interested in reviewing the city’s role as a county, and how that affects Philly’s bottom line.
Maria Quinones Sanchez said the summer is a time when she visits recreation centers and attends block parties and festivals. “This is the time when we’re out on the street talking to folks,” she said. Sanchez also plans to take several weeks off to spend time with her ten-year-old son.
Darrell Clarke has a busy summer of community meetings, catching up on constituent concerns after a hectic legislative season. Top on his list: A soon-to-be released plan to bus children in his district from neighborhoods with closed public pools to neighborhoods where pools are open.
Jannie Blackwell was out of the office when we stopped by, at a neighborhood pool opening. Back in City Hall later, working right now on rolling back a new $500 fee for garbage collection for businesses. “It’s a real problem. It’s a real hardship for these small businesses.”
W. Wilson Goode Jr. was not in his office but quickly responded by e-mail, sending PhillyClout a report he is studying on how the city acquires and manages vacant property, a subject on which he introduced legislation earlier this year.
Mayor Nutter today said he was saddened by Michael Jackson's death, noting that he grew up with the music of the King of Pop.
"I go back literally to the Jackson 5," Nutter said. "My sister and I used to listen to all that music."
Nutter said he also enjoyed Jackson's music during his "Mixmaster Mike" DJ days at a club when he was a college student. "When I was in the nightclub you had "Thriller" and "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough," Nutter said. "Those were incredible dance hits."
Nutter said he downloaded three Jackson songs to his MP3 player yesterday -- "Billie Jean," "Man in the Mirror," and "Got To Be There."